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More than a third of renters struggle to afford rent

More than a third of renters struggle to afford rent
Shekina Tuahene
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Shekina Tuahene

Over a third – 35% – of private renters are finding it difficult to pay their rent, research from a charity found.

This proportion of people said they were finding it either difficult or very difficult to afford their living payments, and this was higher than the 32% who were struggling last year, according to a study from TDS Charitable Foundation. 

This rose to 56% of private renters who were not in work because of long-term sickness or disability. Among the students polled, 45% were finding it hard to afford their rent, as were 43% of people receiving benefits. 

TDS Charitable Foundation’s survey of more than 2,000 private renters also found that people’s rent had risen by 7% on average since last year. 

This varied depending on where renters were located, with those in small towns seeing an 11% surge in living costs. For those living in suburbs, their rent fell by 0.3% on average. 

To manage rising costs, 55% of tenants said they cut back on expenses such as food, heating and clothing. This rose to 72% among single parent renters and 62% for households with children. 

TDS Charitable Foundation said while the main political parties were pledging to end Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions, this did not go far enough to support renters with the affordability of renting. 

It said there needed to be plans to address the gap between supply and demand in the private rental sector and keep housing benefit rates unfrozen. 

‘A worrying picture’

Jennifer Harris, head of policy and research at TDS Group, said: “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.” 

Related: Lack of rental choice will undermine manifesto plans for reform