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Report: Renters choosing between food and paying rent

Some tenants are choosing between paying for food and bills and rent, according to research carried out for the Guardian by Opinium.

Six in 10 rents have suffered financially due to the shutdown, with one in five of those saying they are forced to prioritise food and rent. Meanwhile one in four have left their home to move in with friends or parents, or requested to end their tenancy early.

In March the government banned evictions and allowed affected landlords to take mortgage payment holidays if they require.

However the likes of the London Renters Union have urged the government to suspend rents entirely.

Amina Gichinga of the London Renters Union said: “Many renters feel they have no choice but to break social distancing guidelines and go out to work, just so their landlords can continue to profit.

“How are people supposed to pay rent with no income and at least a month’s wait for any government assistance? How are people in low-paid jobs meant to clear hundreds or thousands of pounds of rent arrears in the future?

“All rent payments need to be suspended and rent arrears need to be waived urgently to keep renters safe from eviction and from debt, and to prevent the further spread of the virus.”

Kat Wright, national organiser for Acorn, which campaigns for tenants’ rights, added: “We’re facing a huge surge in evictions once restrictions are lifted, and renters across the UK are already unable to pay their rent.

“Tenants need protection from evictions post-emergency and from rent debt accrued during the crisis.”