Housing charity Shelter has launched a fund raising campaign to help it deal with struggling renters as research shows one in four (27%) fear becoming homeless due to the pandemic.

The charity’s latest poll of 551 private renters in England reveals they have fared particularly badly during the last year, with nearly half (47%) reporting that they are more depressed and anxious in light of the pandemic – almost double the rate of the general public.

It points to a quarter of private renters who have seen their income drop in the last six months; 24% of private renters have had to borrow money to pay their rent, while 18% have cut back on food or skipped meals.

The charity reports that two-thirds (63%) of calls answered by its emergency helpline in the last year were from people already homeless or at risk of homelessness.

It has hired 26 new housing advisers, doubled the number of calls answered by its free helpline and has now launched an urgent appeal for public support, Lives on the Line, asking for donations of between £10 and £80.

polly shelter

Chief executive Polly Neate (pictured) says: “Through our helpline we have seen just how scared people are about their homes and their futures. People’s lives are literally on the line. They are desperately struggling and the threat of homelessness is very real.” 

Franz Doerr, CEO at rental tech firm flatfair (pictured, below), believes the ban on bailiff evictions has not properly addressed the crisis engulfing the rental market.

franz doerr

“Mountains of arrears are piling up at the feet of landlords who are effectively being asked to prop up the market, yet the government has offered next to nothing by way of support for them,” he says.

“The government must urgently provide clarity to both landlords and tenants on how it proposes to help struggling renters repay their debt. Failure to do so will ultimately lead to landlords exiting the market, meaning there will be fewer affordable homes for rent.”


  1. Polly , you reap what sow

    If you demonise landlords , focus totally on having a completely imbalanced relationship between tenants and landlords, with the landlords effectively forced to support tenants that won’t pay rent indefinitely. You quickly arrive at a position where landlords exit the market, rental property availability drops significantly and rents increase . A great proportion of current tenants will struggle to find homes in future

    Shelter, a charity that provides advice not housing

    The current challenges created for landlords in no small part by the likes of Shelter will result in higher levels of homelessness but I’m sure that will purely lead to a shift in Shelters focus from landlords to councils. What it wont lead to is Shelter providing any shelter

  2. If Shelter’s new appointed advisers can educate my tenants to prioritise rent from their luxury car purchases, etc and pay my rent arrears accumulated from well before the lockdown, I will happily donate a quarter of it to Shelter.

    Shelter are you up for the challenge?

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