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Rent Debt Crisis Set to Worsen?

The UK Government’s recent Household Resilience Study has been released which shows the astonishing number of private renters facing debt following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The recent report has highlighted that between the months of April-May 2021, 7 per cent of private renters were in rent arrears – that’s around 308,000 households and a further 9 per cent (386,000 households) reported that they were likely to fall behind with rent payments in the next three months.

With the private rented sector accounting for 4.4 million households in England, the cost of living for many of those renters worsens. The report also found that 27 per cent of people said it was difficult to meet their heating/fuel costs. Additionally, 17 per cent of private renters were behind with at least one household bill such as utilities, credit cards or other loans.

Timothy Douglas, policy manager at Propertymark said: “These figures reiterate what large parts of the private rented sector have been saying for months so it is vital that the UK Government take a serious look at recent decisions to remove the £20 per week uplift to Universal Credit and the freeze to Local Housing Allowance Rates. With energy prices soaring and the cost of living going up, the UK Government must introduce a programme of support for the 300,000 households impacted by the pandemic which keeps landlords in the market and prevents the build-up of further debt.”

Propertymark also stressed these concerns in its recent representation to the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021. The Autumn Budget is set to be released on 27 October.

An estimated 476,000 households living in the private rented sector saw their income decrease by more than £100 per month between November/December 2020 and April/May 2021. This accounts for 11.1 per cent of private renting households.