New research on how private renters are feeling during the pandemic

The impact of the pandemic has been as much financial as it has been on health in the UK, and lockdown has triggered many of those living in private rented accommodation to rethink their living arrangements. With that in mind, at Aldermore, we wanted to find out how private renters were feeling about their current housing situation, their landlord and if they were working towards buying their own home.

We asked 2,000 UK private renters how they felt about their housing situation and found that half were worried about it. Rent increases, landlords selling up, and becoming unemployed were the main worries for tenants during the pandemic. 

Financial security is a big concern for 41% of renters
Since March 2020, one in 10 admitted they have struggled to pay their rent with a further one in five also experiencing unexpected rent increases. To help get by during these unusual circumstances, 14% of renters admit to using their savings and 16% have had to use their overdraft or credit card.

It is concerning that so many renters are feeling anxious about their housing situation, especially as the home became an even more significant and important part of people’s lives in 2020 than ever before. Encouragingly though, 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.

Renters’ home aspirations
Being at home so much more has also highlighted what renters are missing in their current home.  Not surprisingly, it’s all about more space with 32% wanting a bigger kitchen, 27% want more living space and 24% would like a garden. 27% also want a more energy efficient home, probably driven by higher energy bills from being at home a lot more.

We found that the experience of the pandemic and lockdowns among renters seems to have strengthened home ownership ambitions, with one in four now looking to buy a property and are actively saving for a deposit. But with many dealing with furlough and reduced incomes, many renters say the dream of home ownership is far from reach despite it being a big life goal.

The biggest obstacles for home ownership
We found that raising a deposit (30%), affordable house prices (17%) and high rent costs (13%) were renters biggest obstacles.  Over a quarter (28%) of private renters say credit history is a big concern, with two fifths (38%) looking to actively improve their credit score to increase their chances of securing a mortgage. However, the challenges they face are not as large a barrier to buying a home as it may have been in the past.

As a specialist lender, we consider borrowers with credit issues, including debt and CCJs, alongside those experiencing furlough, so options are open for renters.