We can't allow renters to be locked out of our post-pandemic recovery

Economic recovery is underway for some, but many renters are struggling to stay afloat.

Our new research shows that over the next three months (until August 2021), 1.7 million renting households are worried about paying their rent, and almost 1 million renting households are worried about being evicted over the same period. Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) renters, renters with children, lower-income renters, and renters that have lost income during the pandemic, are disproportionately struggling.

A far higher proportion of lower-income renters are grappling with arrears than those on high incomes, with those with gross annual household incomes under £25,000 almost four times as likely to be in general arrears (rent, utilities, council tax or lending), and eight times as likely to be in rent arrears than households with income over £50,000.

We must be wary of a two-tier recovery that leaves low-income households, those who have lost income through the pandemic, and renters behind. But it does not have to be this way. Providing targeted support to those currently struggling to stay afloat will ensure that everyone can participate in the recovery.

Recommendations:

  • Immediately provide support for renters in arrears in England by increasing the funding for Discretionary Housing Payments, and amending how they are administered.
  • Protect people from harm: re-align Local Housing Allowance rates with local rents and don’t take away £20 a week from millions of families with already-precarious incomes by cutting Universal Credit this October. The Government must also ensure people who are still receiving ‘legacy’ benefits, many of whom are disabled or carers, are no longer excluded from this vital improvement to support.
  • Build more homes for social rent.

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