Beyond all doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated existing issues within the private renting sector. I know that many have fallen behind on household bills and rent due to financial pressures caused by many factors such as unemployment and furlough.
Studies show one in four private renters have seen their earnings fall since the start of the pandemic and half a million private tenants are in rent arrears and at risk of eviction.
I want to say that my thoughts are with those experiencing uncertainty. I strongly believe it is important that Ministers drop their proposals to cut UC, end the five-week wait for housing benefit, and suspend the benefit cap. Furthermore, Local Housing Allowance (LHA) should also be increased to cover average rents throughout the pandemic.
In the meantime, the following organisations may be of some assistance if you are experiencing any financial difficulties:
• Shelter’s online webchat and advice pages
• Citizens Advice Wandsworth: 0800 144 8444
• Turn2Us (for issues relating to benefits): 0808 802 2000