The government should ensure benefits cover the full cost of rents and make payments direct to landlords, according to the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
The NRLA made the call after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suspended rent arrears deductions as the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis continues.
Claims for Universal Credit have surged in recent weeks, with more than one and a half million new claims having been made.
Deductions for rent arrears, rent arrears, service charge arrears and council tax arrears have now been suspended until 10 May as tenants struggle to make ends meet.
Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “At such a difficult time the priority should be to do everything possible to prevent tenants getting into rent arrears in the first place by ensuring tenants are able to continue paying their rent in full.
“This means that the Government should ensure benefits cover the full cost of rents, end the five week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit and pay the housing element of the credit directly to landlords.”