Millions of Households Worried About Making Rent This Winter
November 17, 2020
As many as 2.5 million household across the UK are worried about how they will manage to pay their rent over the winter months, according to an extensive new piece of research.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has been looking into the issue and found that almost 700,000 British households are already in rental arrears as the coronavirus crisis goes on.
Right across the country, individuals and households are grappling with increased financial pressures because of the pandemic and for many that has meant serious debt problems.
Incomes have fallen for millions of people since the start of the Covid-19 crisis and many of those without much financial flexibility have been forced to reduce their spending even on essentials including food, heating and electricity.
Eviction bans have been introduced this year and succeeded in protecting most renters from losing their homes but those bans are time limited and the JRF is concerned about how much debt might be racked up while they’re in place and what the eventual consequences might be.
The charity wants to see the UK government reintroducing a “watertight” evictions ban to prevent a possible “wave of homelessness this winter”.
It is also calling for targeted support to be provided to people who are suffering financially as a result of the pandemic and finding it extremely difficult to pay their rent or failing to do so and falling into debt.
Specifically, the JRF wants to see people who cannot currently pay their rent because of the Covid situation given access to grant programmes that help them survive the winter without being evicted from their homes.
Families with children who live in private rented accommodation are among those believed to be particularly vulnerable to extra financial pressures and potential eviction during the Covid crisis, with four in 10 households in that category currently worried about paying their rent.
“Millions of people are anxious about paying the rent over winter, having run down their limited savings, reduced their spending and borrowed from friends, family or the bank,” said Helen Barnard, a director at the JRF.
“The worrying number of households already in arrears shows renters are running out of options. Without action we could see a wave of evictions and a surge in homelessness over the winter.”