A think tank is calling for landlords to consider rent reductions and is also suggesting the return of an eviction ban as Coronavirus leads to expected job losses and reduced income.
The Resolution Foundation’s research director, Lindsay Judge, says: “As lockdown measures continue to ramp up around the UK, high housing costs are making the ongoing economic situation even worse for many families.
“Renters are being particularly badly hit. They are much more likely to have lost their jobs, and close to one-in-eight private renters and over one-in-six social renters are currently unable to cover their housing costs in full. Significant numbers are only managing by cutting other expenditures, drawing down on savings or getting into debt in order to meet their rent.
“As the furlough scheme comes to an end … policymakers need to ensure the social security system supports struggling families effectively over the coming months, and take urgent action to avoid an increase in homelessness. But landlords might also need to recognise that as household incomes fall, rents are more likely to need to go down than up.”
The foundation has undertaken a YouGov survey of 6,061 working-age adults across the UK, and says it shows that renters are bearing the brunt of pandemic job losses and are more likely than owner occupiers to have fallen behind with their housing costs.
The think-tank claims eight per cent of private renters and seven per cent of social renters who were working before the pandemic report that they have lost their job, compared to three per cent of owner occupiers.
The report also found that 15 per cent of private renters are worried about losing their job in the next three months, compared to 11 per cent of owner occupiers.
A statement from the foundation says that while the benefits system has taken some of the strain - with the share of private renters in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit increasing by one-third since February this year - such benefits “fall short of typical rents for many.”
And it concludes: “Despite the massive hit to incomes, private rents have continued to rise in recent months, suggesting sustained benefit support and protections from eviction will be needed through the winter months.”
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