Average tenant debt due to the pandemic has risen 41% since May this year, according to the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
Of more than 2,000 private tenants surveyed in a survey commissioned by the NRLA and conducted by Dynata, the NRLA found that the number of tenants in arrears fell from 7% in May to 3.7%.
However, the NRLA calculates the latter figure is representative of almost 433,000 tenants, and the total they owe has risen from an average of £900 in May to £1,270 by September 30.
And of those late-paying tenants, 57% are not receiving Universal Credit, which means they are not eligible for discretionary housing payments.
For those on Universal Credit, 59 per cent said the £20-a-week reduction would make it ‘harder’ for them to pay their rent.
NRLA Chief Executive Ben Beadle comments: “The NRLA is concerned that tenants with unpaid Covid-related rent debts will see these arrears increase. While landlords have done all they can to support affected tenants, they simply cannot afford this situation to continue indefinitely.
“With the Government having made funds available for affected tenants, it is now essential that councils pass them on to affected tenants as quickly as possible.
“In doing so, they should prioritize those who are not eligible for emergency housing assistance. This action plan is the best way to maintain rentals and keep people in their homes.