One in five renters or approximately 1.7 million renters are due to lose their jobs during the Coronavirus crisis, a leading charity has claimed.
Shelter says its research, which was carried out just after Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the government’s furlough scheme, also reveals that a quarter of tenants had already seen their income drop or lost their jobs at the time.
Also, another quarter of renters said they were living hand to mouth and that losing their job would mean they couldn’t pay their rent.
To help ease the situation, the housing charity is calling on the government to increase the housing allowance element of Universal Credit to enable tenants to pay for their existing property when they start claiming benefits.
Nearly a million extra people have so far moved from employment to the Universal Credits system, government figures show.
The housing element of Universal Credit only covers the lowest third of market rents in an area, meaning those paying average rents will face a large shortfall.
For families in a two-bedroom home, the shortfall is as high as £400 a month outside of London, and up to £1,227 in the capital.
Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, said: “The government has rightly suspended evictions until June, so no one has to face homelessness in the middle of this pandemic. But millions of renters will be in dire straits further down the line without more government support.
“As renters lose their jobs and see their incomes hit, many will have to rely on the welfare safety net for the first time.