More than a third of private renters struggling to afford their rent


Over a third of all private renters are finding it difficult to afford their rent according to new research out today.

Whilst overall 35% of renters said they were finding it difficult or very difficult to afford their rent, this proportion increased to 56% for those not in work due to long-term sickness or disability. For students, 45% were struggling to afford their rent and 43% for those in receipt of benefits.

The data comes from a representative survey of over 2,000 private renters carried out in March by the TDS Charitable Foundation, which works to advance education about housing rights and obligations in the private rented sector.

Whilst the research found that average rents had increased by 7per cent over the last year, this masked a wide disparity according to location.  Average rents increased by 11 per cent for those renting in small towns, whilst they fell by 0.3 per cent for those tenants living in suburbs.

Most tenants are also struggling to afford household essentials with 55% saying they have had to cut back on expenses such as food, heating, and clothing. This increased to 72% amongst single parent renters and 62% for all rented households with children living in them.

With all the main political parties now promising to end section 21 repossessions, the TDS Charitable Foundation is warning that this will not, on its own, provide tenants with the security they need without action to tackle the affordability of rents.

It is calling for all the parties to develop plans to tackle the gap between supply and demand in the rental market to help reduce the growing costs in the sector which have put pressure on rents and commit to keeping housing benefit rates unfrozen for the duration of the next Parliament.

Dr Jennifer Harris, head of policy and research at TDS Group, commented: “Being able to afford a home should be the foundation for anyone to flourish. However, our data paints a worrying picture of the pressures many renters are now under and has implications for landlords with tenants in arrears.

“Whilst all the main parties have focused on ending section 21, this will not address the fundamental challenges many tenants face in affording their rents.

“The next government needs to avoid the temptation to reach for simple solutions. This means addressing the gap between supply and demand in the rental market, reducing costs on the sector and providing certainty about housing benefit levels to enable tenants and landlords to plan for the medium to long term.”

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