With little or no savings to fall back on, 45% of private renters in England could not afford to pay their rent for more than a month if they lost their job, new research from Shelter shows.
Surviving from one pay cheque to the next, the Shelter and YouGov study found almost three million private renters could be just one pay cheque away from losing their home.
The study shows the situation is particularly bleak for working families with children, with some 760,000 renting families just one pay cheque away from losing their home – with a job loss leaving 550,000 of these families immediately unable to pay rent.
“By allowing the number of genuinely affordable social homes to plummet, politicians have super-charged our housing emergency,” said Shelter chief executive Polly Neate.
“Millions of working people are now caught in an endless cycle of paying grossly expensive private rents they can barely afford – with all the insecurity that brings.
“Many are terrified that even a short-term dip in income could result in them losing their home for good.
“Warm words and piecemeal policies will not solve this deepening crisis.
“The only way politicians can fix what has gone so wrong is with a clear commitment from every party to deliver three million more social homes over the next 20 years,” she said.
Shelter’s snapshot of life for struggling renters’ chimes with the government’s own figures, which reveal 63% of private renting households have no savings at all given that they spend on average 41% of their monthly income on rent costs.
The survey results are from a YouGov survey of 3,995 private renters in England, of which 2,965 were workers, and 833 working parents with children living in their household.
Results were weighted to Shelter’s weight scheme.
The number of private renters and privately renting families affected have been calculated by Shelter using the survey results in conjunction with data on the number of people and families renting privately from the English Housing Survey (EHS) 2017-18, Census 2011, and ONS mid-year population estimates.
Shelter estimates that there are 6.5m adults in work and renting privately in England, and the EHS shows there are 1.6m families renting privately in England, of which Shelter estimates 1.3m have a household reference person in work.