Private tenants spending third of income on rent, survey shows

Nearly three in 10 (28%) renting households have had some difficulty in paying their housing costs, according to the 2018/19 English Housing Survey.

This compares with 5% of home owners with a mortgage who reported some difficulty paying their home loan.

In London, more than a third (36%) of renters reported some difficulty in paying their housing costs.

The housing charity Shelter said the figures highlight the “bleak” situation many renters are in as they deal with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2018/19 survey found that on average, private renters spent a third (33%) of household income including housing benefit on rent, rising to two-fifths (40%) for those renting privately in London.

The report said that on average private renters have higher housing costs than home owners with a mortgage or renters in the social sector.

The average weekly housing cost for private renters was £200. For people with a mortgage it was £172 per week, for local authority tenants it was £96 and for housing association tenants it was £106.

The average private rent in London was £341 per week – 71% higher than the national average.

In 2018/19, nearly half (47%) of households in England reported having no savings.

Social renters were least likely to report having savings (82%), followed by private renters (61%) and owner-occupiers (33%).

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “These figures highlight again the bleak situation that many renters are in as they struggle to navigate the financial chaos of the pandemic.

“And they echo what our services hear on a daily basis – that many families don’t have savings to fall back on and that young renters have been particularly badly hit.

“Our own research shows that almost 230,000 have fallen behind with rent since March, meaning thousands could face homelessness when the evictions ban lifts.”

She added: “Some small changes to the law would give judges the power they need to keep thousands safe in their homes and prevent a wave of Covid-evictions.”

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