Housing charity Crisis says government statistics show almost one in five private renters in England in arrears or likely to fall into arrears in the next three months.
The statistics - said to be contained in a Household Resilience study - were from a survey conducted in November and December.
Key findings include:
- In November-December 2020, nine per cent of private renters (353,000 households) were in arrears. This compares to three per cent in 2019-20 and seven per cent in June-July 2020;
- A further eight per cent of private renters said they were very or fairly likely to fall behind with rent payments in the next three months (approximately 278,000 households);
- The main reasons renters gave for falling into arrears were being furloughed on reduced pay (15 per cent) or working fewer hours/less overtime (14 per cent).
Matt Downie, Crisis director of policy and external affairs, says: “We urgently need a financial package of support for the thousands of renters in arrears, especially with the end of the bailiff-led eviction ban fast approaching.
“The financial impact of the pandemic has hit those on the lowest incomes, with the smallest savings the hardest. Unable to work or with their wages and hours cut, the number of people who have been unable to avoid building up rent arrears has tripled over the last year, reaching unprecedented levels
“They now face the very real prospect of being forced into homelessness, with the pandemic not over, unless the UK government takes emergency action.
“But renters need more than temporary lifelines of support. We urge the UK government to bring forward the Renters Reform Bill in the Queen’s Speech next month and put in place measures to protect renters in the long-term.”