A third of renters would instantly be unable to pay rent if they lost their job

Nick Cheek
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Nick Cheek

A third of those in rented accommodation would immediately not have enough to pay their rent if they were to lose their job, a leading housing charity has found.

Research compiled by Shelter discovered that 2.2 million renters or 34% would not be able to pay any outstanding rent from current savings, if they were to become unemployed.

Half of the respondents in the survey who are working and paying rent, said that they would not have enough funds to cover any rent costs for more than a month if they lost their job.

The charity said that these latest figures are some of the worst that it has found since before the Covid-19 pandemic. Overall, the number of renters who are just one pay cheque away from losing their home has grown by nearly a third in the past two years. Official Government figures have recently shown that private rents are at a record high.

According to a recent Shelter YouGov poll, 55% of those renting have seen their rent being increased. In addition to the cost of living rising, higher rents have placed an enormous strain on finances. Due to the increased pressures, 2.1 million tenants are now struggling or behind with their rent due to rising rents.

More social homes needed

Shelter has stated that that the only way to resolve the current rental crisis is to build more social housing. This would offer tenants more stable and secure tenancies as rents are set in relation to local incomes.

In a separate survey from the charity, more than three quarters of social renters in England said that without their social home, their local areas would be unaffordable.

In addition, 53% said that living in social housing allowed them to stay closer to family and friends.

Private renters “crises”

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Private renters up and down the country are facing a crisis like never before. Decades of failure from Government to build enough social housing means that the pressure on oversubscribed private renting is worse than ever.”

“The severe lack of social homes means swathes of people are barely scraping by as they’re forced to compete for grossly expensive private rentals, because there is nothing else. With food and household bills continuing to surge, the situation is precarious for thousands of renters who are one pay cheque away from losing their home, and the spectre of homelessness.

“The time for piecemeal policies is over. To jam the brakes on the housing emergency, we need a genuinely affordable alternative to private renting. We know social housing works for most people because it’s secure and the rents are tied to local incomes. Instead of empty words, the Government and every political party must sign up to building thousands more social homes.”