Laura Sharman 16 April 2020

Millions of renters expect to lose their job in next three months

One in five private renters in England expect to lose their job in the next three months due to the coronavirus crisis, new research has revealed.

Homelessness charity Shelter found 1.7 million people are likely to be unemployed in the coming months, forcing a growing number of people to repy on welfare benefits for the first time.

A quarter of renters (24%) said they have already seen their incomes fall or have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.

Shelter is warning the housing element of Universal Credit only covers the lowest third of market rents in an area. It is calling on the Government to increase housing benefit so it covers the average cost of local rents.

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: ‘As renters lose their jobs and see their incomes hit, many will have to rely on the welfare safety net for the first time. Our services are already hearing from families in homes they could comfortably afford under normal circumstances, who are now in serious financial difficulty.

‘We’re facing an onslaught of people suddenly unable to afford their rent, at a time when people need to stay put and cannot safely move to a cheaper home. To avoid spiralling debt and needless evictions once the ban lifts, the government must increase the housing element of Universal Credit so that it covers the average cost of local rents.’

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