New report reveals how tenants are less likely to be financially secure, and what Ministers should do to prevent a huge debt pile of housing arrears accumulating.

A radical change in Government policy is urgently needed to respond to the plight of private tenants as new research shows renters are twice as likely to default on their rent as mortgage holders.

The Resolution Foundation has reported on levels of housing stress and says the Coronavirus crisis has highlighted inequalities between renters and homeowners, with renters up to twice as likely to have fallen behind with their housing payments compared to mortgaged home owners.

Its survey of more than 6,000 people found that renters in lower paid jobs, as well as the oldest and youngest renters, were more likely than mortgaged owners to have lost their job or been furloughed.

While 8% of home owners with a mortgage have failed to cover their housing costs in recent weeks, the rate rises to 13% of private renters. And of those renters who are unable to cover housing costs, 25% were claiming Universal Credit or Housing Benefit before the crisis, while 37% have made a claim for Universal Credit since then.

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Twice as likely

Lindsay Judge, principal research and policy analyst, says renters who’ve made a benefit claim since the Coronavirus crisis began are almost three times as likely to be struggling with their housing costs as the average person, and experiencing significantly more strain than those who receiving housing support beforehand.

Judge says: “We argue that policy needs to respond to the plight of private renters. If families – and indeed landlords – are to be protected from housing arrears, the system needs to be as all-encompassing as possible, by suspending capital rules, for example and by lifting the benefit cap.”

The foundation believes that renters have suffered disproportionately when it to comes to covering housing costs because 13% of mortgaged home owners held no savings before the pandemic, compared to 23% of private renters

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