- One in 10 (9%) renters have struggled to pay their rent since March with one in five (22%) experiencing unexpected rent increases
- Two in five (41%) are worried about their financial security and 12% admit they have missed or were late with rent payments
- Nearly a quarter (22%) say they have been placed on furlough or lost employment since lockdown began in March
- One in five (21%) say lockdown has made them more motivated to move and 26% are now actively saving for a deposit to buy their own place
New research of 2,000 private renters from Aldermore bank1 reveals the true impact of Covid-19 on the private rented sector, with half (50%) admitting they are worried about their housing situation. Rent increases, landlords selling up, and becoming unemployed have been the key worries for tenants during the pandemic2.
Rent worries and struggles
Financial security is a big concern for two in five (41%) renters. Since March, one in 10 (9%) admitted they have struggled to pay their rent with a further one in five (22%) also experiencing unexpected rent increases. To help get by during these unusual circumstances, 14% of renters admit to using their savings to get by and 16% have had to use their overdraft or credit card.
This pressure is felt significantly among 18 to 34 year olds, with two in three (64%) admitting they are worried about their housing situation. Additionally, a further 20% of this age group have seen rent costs increase in their area since March. The situation has become more difficult for the age group with nearly one third (31%) being placed on furlough or losing employment since March, significantly higher than the 22% average across all renters.
The impact of lockdown has triggered many renters to rethink their living arrangements. One in four (26%) are now looking to buy a property and are actively saving for a deposit, with a fifth (21%) motivated to move into different rental accommodation.
The main things that renters desire that they do not currently have in their property were a bigger kitchen (32%), more living space (27%), a more energy efficient home (25%) and a garden (24%).
When asked about their future plans, one in three (37%) plan to remain in their property over the next five years and one in five (18%) plan to move to a different rental property. One in five (22%) state they will look to buy their own property in the next five years; this ambition was greatest in Northern Ireland (32%), London (29%), the South East (24%) and the West Midlands (23%).
Jon Cooper, head of mortgage distribution, Aldermore comments: “The impact of the pandemic has been as much financial as it has been on health in the UK. It is concerning that so many renters are feeling anxious about their housing situation, especially as the home has become an even more significant and important part of people’s lives this year than ever before.
“Encouragingly, landlords appear to have been supportive throughout this difficult time, with 74% of renters saying their experience has been positive, and nearly nine in ten renters saying communication with their landlord has been good. Open dialogue and listening to tenants’ concerns or difficulties is an important part of being a landlord and, if they are financially struggling, lenders can provide options, such as mortgage payment breaks, to assist in managing portfolios and ease this strain during these difficult times.”
Kevin Roberts, Director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, adds: “These latest findings clearly show the financial difficulties many private renters face since the start of the pandemic. However, homeownership remains a life goal for many in rented accommodation. Those wanting to better understand how they can make the transition from renter to buyer should first consider speaking with an independent mortgage adviser. Advisers can help provide a clearer route to homeownership including what lenders look for in applicants, such as their minimum deposit requirements. Knowing how to prepare can help make the homeownership process clearer.
Notes to editors
1 Research conducted by Opinium in November 2020, with a nationally representative sample size of 2,062 private renters
2 Selection of verbatims from research: “Those who are worried about their housing situation, what is their biggest worry?”:
“I lost my job and am in temporary work so I worry that it may end at any time”
“Being made homeless because I lose a job or income becomes too erratic”
“The landlords are elderly so they or their family might want to sell the property”
“I am worried about increases in rent and that this may mean I have to move. This is especially worrying as I am on a very low income and rents do seem to be increasing in my local area. I am also concerned that it may be hard to move because of Covid.”
“I don’t have savings and landlords are hiking up the prices and you jump through hoops with references.”
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