By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Shelter claims many renters are ‘one cheque from homelessness’

Campaigning charity Shelter claims that half the working private renters in England have too little saved to pay rent for more than a month if they lost their job.

It claims this is up by almost a third in two years. 

This figure is produced from a poll commissioned by Shelter which, the charity says, shows that 55 per cent of private renters have had their rent put up in the last year.


It goes on to say that 37 per cent are now struggling or behind with their rent “due to the increase in payments.”

And it adds that the long-term answer to this is more social housing, which is suggests removes the possibility of uncontrolled rent rises and unexpected evictions from tenants.

Charity chief executive Polly Neate says: “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 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.” 

Want to comment on this story? Our focus is on providing a platform for you to share your insights and views and we welcome contributions.
If any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.
Please help us by reporting comments you consider to be unduly offensive so we can review and take action if necessary. Thank you.

  • icon

    Of course we need more social housing but no one wants it to be next door to them.
    Councils need to get back to building whole Council estates rather than dotting social housing randomly in all new build estates.
    Social rents need to be far more commercially realistic so social housing providers can afford to maintain their stock and build more. How many Local Authorities and Housing Associations are on the brink of bankruptcy right now?
    One of the most contentious issues with Social Housing is allocation. How should priority be determined? Should it go to low wage working local families, unemployed families, migrants, people who have been evicted from the PRS, people who have been repossessed, disabled people? It's highly unlikely enough could ever be built to house everyone who wanted to be a Social tenant. Although if a commercially viable rent was charged would the housing waiting list suddenly shrink dramatically? How many people are only on the list because they fancy having half price rent?


    It's astounding how many people want / need help with housing costs. The other way to look at the problem is that we need to pay people a decent wage! Coupled with large scale building of truly affordable housing we could end the need for subsidise housing for working people & allow them to be self-reliant. That would free up social housing for those who truly need it. We need to find a way to make people less reliant on handouts.


    All great points. Re half price rent. Exactly we do everything we can for our long term tenants sometimes causing us expense and stress but they would walk out on us sorry run if they were offered half price rent. They would not be bothered about area or condition and this shows they were not designed to be housed by PRS to begin with


    Housing assocations short of funds ??yet they pay their mamagement 100s of thousands a year, noses in troughs I think


    Jo, we have created a monster in terms of the number of people in this country, I don’t believe we can ever catch up 🆘 Never.



    Anyone working who needs more money can work longer hours or take on a second part time job. There are over a million job vacancies currently which many unemployed are too well off on benefits to take up.

    Unemployed people can live anywhere so should be moved out to remote areas where they're not stopping a working family from living nearer to places of work.

    My recent experience suggests no tradesman earns less than £200 per day and some can be much more. I was quoted £3000 for plastering which would have taken less than a week. I spent around 2 days and £400 putting on thick lining paper instead.


    Robert - I have stopped obtaining quotes for the job.

    I am now paying by the hour/day and buying all the materials myself. I am also handing out a document at the start of the work detailing how I want the work done.

    I am not paying people hundreds of pounds an hour for low skilled work.

  • George Dawes

    Cheque ? This is the 21st century

    We’ve all gone digital

    I’ve only received one cheque in the last 15 years , it was from hmrc and I have no bank to pay it into nor cheque book to pay with

    Typical public sector dinosaurs


    With some banking apps you can scan a cheque and it gets paid into your account. No need to go to the branch.

  • icon

    There wouldn't be the problem to this extent if it there had been no Renters Reform White Paper and no Renters Reform Bill. There would be more private rental accommodation available and rents would be lower.

    More social housing should be built, but it will take time for that to be accomplished. It is much simpler to U turn on the rental reforms and encourage landlords to stay in the private rental sector. If that doesn't happen the problem will get worse for tenants over the coming months.

    The Government got it wrong. Landlords would let to families, people on universal credit and even people with pets if it were made easier for them to get their properties back on a no fault basis, not harder. Forcing landlords to enter into contracts with which they are not in agreement was not the right way forward.


    Well said. Too many busy bodies interfering. It’s such a deterrent that I’m too scared being a landlord.


    We all are Nick.


    That’s why it’s called Assured Shorthold Tenancy AST. The ability to retain control of the property. The moment that goes then it’s downhill and yes Nick too many busybodies has made this a toxic business to make housing available to people with a small deposit.

  • icon

    At the moment we need to be more worried about mortgage payers on variable rates and mortgage prisoners many are less than one pay day away from repossession.

  • icon

    Shelter’s policies are a contributory factor to the shortage of rental property & the increases in rent - they actively harm the homeless.
    The government’s real & intended policies encouraged by private landlord hating pressure groups will only make the situation for renters worse as more & more landlords sell their houses & flats.
    Ultimately the only people that are hurt here are the current tenants & renters try to find a home to rent - this government (GOVE!) will not listen to landlords - the government & groups like Shelter are creating an explosion of homelessness that the local councils will have to deal with!

  • icon

    Shelter could build / buy housing to house people it isn't as if they don't have the funds to do so, they could call themselves ''the great unwashed housing assocation'' see how well they get on as landlords to the free loaders

  • icon

    We should give Shelter credit for saying something sensible for a change. We do need more social housing. But Jo and Tricia are quite right that is needs to be affordable but economic for the councils and housing associations to maintain and build more.
    And stop right to buy. I have never understood why paying a subsidised rent for years entitles a tenant to buy the house at a discount. If sold it should be at market value to allow it to be replaced like for like in the social sector.
    There will always be people who need help with housing but there will also be people who take advantage of anything they can get free or cheaply. The hard part is helping the right ones.

  • Peter Why Do I Bother

    So Polly turning her attention to councils and government, amazing it was all the landlords fault a few months ago.

    Rates rocket so rent goes up, cost of living goes up and who suffers, Rent reform bill which they are right behind has spooked landlords and forced them to sell up, again who suffers, lack of supply who suffers. This idiotic woman has brought most of this to a point of no return along with the other idiotic sandal wearing lefties like Twomey and to certain degree Beadles About...

    She should've spoken to landlords who have been doing this for years and asked about challenges, Beadle should have been more vocal about landlords instead of selling his soul for discount cards from tradepoint. Twomey should just go away and play politics on the M6.

    I can think of at least six people on here who would make a fantastic contribution towards the direction of rent policies and what needs to happen.

  • icon

    Michaela, the Governments anti Private Landlords Policy is working well driving out Landlords with THE ROGUE RENTERS REFOM BILL which is what it’s designed to do by installing Sitting Tenants of the 1960’s / 70’s, short memories.
    Jo, why build more Council Estates ghettos they have just knocked down such an Estate of 58 acres in South Action and replace it with modern beautiful Brick built Flats many private you can buy one of those affordable Flats starting at £400k for a one bedroom and rent it out to your Benefit Tenants, or you can have a bigger Flat ranging up to £850k.
    What’s all this driving us out with THE RENTERS REFORM BILL that have been providing quality affordable housing for decades.

  • icon

    Shelter continuously attacking Private landlords and a London Radio Station caused the Problem reinforced by Housing Secretary Michael Gove’s Renters Reform Bill pouring oil on the flames with what amounts to confiscation of landlords property, you can’t have it back ever so why would you buy it for someone else ?.

  • icon

    By taking a deposit to cover 3 months rent, landlords could give struggling tenants a bit more leeway - but Shelter have been one of the rabble rousers responsible for reducing the value of deposits.

    In days gone by, young adults and couples stayed with families until they saved enough to put down on a home, rented or mortgaged.

    Nowadays "young people", formerly known as kids, want it all NOW.

    • A JR
    • 22 August 2023 17:01 PM

    Deposits, I take them, but they are now almost pointless. Controlled by tenant focused ‘deposit protection schemes’ with a huge bias in favor of the tenant, grossly inadequate cost cover limited to just 5 weeks rent and reams of beurocratic paperwork clearly designed to de-rail your Sec 21!

  • icon

    People need to manage their money better. How many low income families have cars that are expensive to run. I see plenty of old, large engine, gas guzzling, high insurance cars. Why pay £80 per month for sky when you can have freesat for nothing? Do you really need a £45 per month phone contract? Rent should be the high priority, smoking, drinking and takeaways should be low priority.

    None of these things seem to be taken into account or discussed.

  • icon

    John Y, you are right. Tenants have expensive wants. Polly Neate and other such organisations do not ever consider where the tenants income is going. Food and shelter needs to be a priority and then take aways, expensive mobile phone contracts, expensive cars, pubs, eating out satellite tv contracts etc seems to their main expenses. Polly Neate will be a main cause of shortage of properties. When this is realised by the politicians and Shelter, it will be too late, the horse will be bolted and gates cannot be closed. Polly would have retired with her massive earnings and later pension. She will not have any qualms and probably will feel she has done her best for the tenants. So narrow focused woman.


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up