Private renters are struggling to pay housing costs as rent accounts for a third of their income, government data shows.
Nearly a third (28%) of renting households have had difficulty in paying their housing costs last year, compared with just 5% of homeowners with a mortgage, according to the 2018/19 English Housing Survey.
In London, more than a third (36%) of renters reported some difficulty in paying their housing costs.
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.
Private renters said they spent about a third of their household income including, housing benefit, on rent, rising to two-fifths for those renting privately in London.
On average, private renters have higher housing costs than homeowners with a mortgage or renters in the social sector, the study found.
The average weekly housing cost for private renters was £200, while the cost for homeowners with a mortgage was about £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 and 2019, 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%).
With almost 230,000 Brits falling behind with rent since March, thousands could face homelessness when the evictions ban lifts. Shelter is calling for government action.
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.
“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,” she added.