Half of private renters in England are only “one paycheque away” from potentially losing their home, a new study by Shelter has found.
Some 51% of private renters surveyed by the housing charity were at risk of not being able to pay a full month’s rent, while more than a third said they did not have enough savings to pay any rent at all if they became unemployed.
The new research also found that 55% had experienced an increase in rent in the past year, as supply outstrips demand and landlords face higher mortgage costs.
It comes after the latest figures showed that rents across the UK increased in the year to July by 5.3% according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Shelter commissioned opinion pollster YouGov to survey 1,498 working adults in England in June who are private renters.
It said the findings were worse than a similar survey that was carried out in 2021, which showed that 39% of working renters would not be able to pay a month’s rent from savings if they became unemployed.
In May the government unveiled plans to boost renters’ rights in the landmark Renters (Reform) Bill, including by ending no-fault evictions, but the legislation has been criticised for slow delivery.
The government first promised to scrap No-fault – or Section 21 – evictions in the 2019 manifesto.
Unveiling the bill in the Commons, Housing Secretary Michael Gove said this was allowing rogue landlords to intimidate tenants into staying silent about disrepair and “no one should be faced with eviction for speaking out”.
However, critics have said there is nothing in the bill to stop landlords effectively forcing people out by hiking up rents.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said the “severe lack “of social homes was also contributing to the instability.
“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,” she said.
“With food and household bills continuing to surge, the situation is precarious for thousands of renters who are one paycheque 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.”
Labour’s shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy said the Conservatives “have left renters worse off – with higher bills, higher taxes and higher prices in the shops”.
“Labour’s plan to boost the economy will help bring down bills and our private renter’s charter will make renting fairer, more secure and more affordable.”
A government spokesperson said: “We have a strong track record of delivering affordable homes to rent and buy across the country.
“Since 2010, we have delivered over 659,500 new affordable homes through our £11.5bn affordable homes programme, including 166,300 homes for social rent.
“Our landmark Renters (Reform) Bill will also deliver a better deal for renters, giving tenants greater security in their homes and preventing large rent increases being used as a backdoor method of eviction.”