COVID-19 forces one in twenty renters to move

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
September 01, 2020, 1:10 PM UTC

The pandemic has hit renters hard, with a fifth having to rely on housing benefits and other Government help to keep up with payments

New YouGov data paints a gloomy picture of how renters have fared during the coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has forced one in twenty people who rent (5%) to move since March.

The figure is even higher among younger people. A fifth of Brits aged 18 to 24 who rented at some point during the pandemic (21%) have had to up sticks because of the crisis.

One in five renters claimed housing benefits or other Government help since March

One in five current renters (19%) have relied on Government assistance such as housing benefits to keep up with rent payments during the pandemic. A further 9% either had their application declined or did not have the option (for example, if subletting) while 7% were not aware it was possible.

Among all renters, 11% have received financial support from their parents or other family. The number is much higher among younger renters, with a nearly a fifth of 18- to 24-year-olds (18%) having received help. Another 17% say assistance was either declined or not an option.

And while 6% of renters have borrowed money from family or friends to be able to pay rent, this figure is twice as high among 18- to 24-year-olds at 13%, while 15% were unable to ask for help or were declined.

Landlords averse to passing on mortgage holidays to tenants

The Government has since March offered home owners mortgage holidays, but the numbers suggest landlords have been reluctant to pass them on to tenants. Only one in twenty renters (5%) have received a temporary rent reduction during the pandemic. Another 11% asked for one but the landlord refused. And one in five renters (20%) were not aware that requesting a reduction was even an option.

Only 1% of renters received a permanent rent reduction until the end of their tenancy, while one in eight (13%) were refused one and over a fifth (22%) were not aware they could ask.

Overall, a fifth of all renters say keeping up with rent has been either fairly (16%) or very (5%) hard. The figure is slightly higher in London, with a quarter of renters (26%) reporting that it’s been fairly (20%) or very (6%) tough.

One in eight renters (12%) have fallen behind with bills because of the pandemic, while 6% have missed rent payments. The numbers vary across age groups. A fifth of renters aged 35 to 44 (19%) have defaulted on bills, while one in ten 45- to 54-year-olds who rent (10%) have missed rent payments.

In contrast, only 2% of mortgaged home owners have failed to pay their bills or mortgage payments.

See the full results here