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Almost one million private renters threatened with eviction notices

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

One in 12 renters in England, around 941,000 people, are currently at risk of eviction, according to new research.

Of those, 504,000 have received or been threatened with an eviction notice in the last month, up 80% on the same period last year, and 482,000 are behind on their rent.

The charity Shelter, which conducted the research with Nationwide Building Society, says the government’s action of not unfreezing housing benefit in the Autumn Statement will result in rising homelessness this winter.

Record high rents

Rents for private tenants have soared this year, along with the cost of everything else rising and inflation hitting 11.1%.

One in four private renters are constantly struggling to pay their rent, a rise of 24% on last year.

More than two thirds, around 7.7 million people, say they would struggle to find a new home if they were evicted.

Average rental costs outside London hit a new record in the third quarter of 2020, to £1,162 per month, according to Rightmove. Asking rents rose by 3.2% in the quarter and in London rents rose 16.1% to an average of £2,343 per month.

‘The rental crisis is fast becoming a homelessness emergency’

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “Every day, our emergency helpline advisers are taking gut-wrenching calls – from the mum who’s skipping meals to pay the rent to the family terrified they will be spending Christmas in a grotty homeless hostel.

“The government’s refusal to unfreeze housing benefit, when private rents are rising at record rates, means the rental crisis is fast becoming a homelessness emergency. At Shelter, we are doing all we can to help people keep the bailiffs at bay, but we’ve got our work cut out.”