A new report claims that there has been a recent surge in the number of private tenants who are at risk of rent arrears, due to rising rents and gaps in housing benefit.
The Renters at Risk report, from Royal London, claims that the amount of working people who would be at risk of being unable to meet their rent if they lost their wage, either through unemployment or sickness, has soared in recent years.
Although unemployment levels have stayed relatively low since the Brexit vote, Royal London believes that tenants are more at risk, as they are less likely to have income protection, unlike those with a mortgage, so may struggle if they lose their job.
The study, based on analysis of the Government’s Family Resources Survey, found that 5.5m working adults would not qualify for full housing benefit if they lost their job. This has more than doubled in the past decade, from around 2m in 2003/04.
The report estimates that 3m adults who rent privately with two wages could struggle to sustain the rent payments on one wage, but would not be eligible for housing benefit to cover the shortfall.
The Director of Policy at Royal London, Steve Webb, comments: “This report shows that the benefits system would not meet the rent of the majority of working renters.
“Unless they are able to resume paid work quickly, 5.5m working renters would be at risk of not being able to pay the rent and having to move to cheaper accommodation, if they could find it.”
He insists: “More needs to be done to help families living in rented accommodation to think through the implications of the very limited state safety net on which they might be relying.”
The study follows a report from housing charity Shelter, which found that 3m working families are just one pay cheque away from not being able to pay their rent or mortgage: https://www.justlandlords.co.uk/news/3m-working-families-one-pay-cheque-away-losing-home/
Landlords, you must take note of the new figures, which show just how many tenants could face rent arrears if they suffer a change in circumstances.
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