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New UK government statistics show 350,000 private renters in arrears – Crisis responds

Today (21 April 2021) new UK government statistics show that almost 1 in 5 private renters in England are either in arrears or likely to fall into arrears in the next three months.

The statistics come from the Household Resilience Study: Wave 2, a survey conducted between November-December 2020 and in follow up to the Wave 1 survey, completed between June-July 2020.

Key findings include:

  • In November-December 2020, 9% of private renters (353,000 households) were in arrears. This compares to 3% in 2019-20 and 7% in June-July 2020.
  • A further 8% of private renters said they were very or fairly likely to fall behind with rent payments in the next three months (approximately 278,000 households).
  • The main reasons renters gave for falling into arrears were being furloughed on reduced pay (15%) or working fewer hours/less over time (14%).

Matt Downie, Director of Policy and External Affairs at Crisis, said: “We urgently need a financial package of support for the thousands of renters in arrears, especially with the end of the bailiff-led eviction ban fast approaching.

“The financial impact of the pandemic has hit those on the lowest incomes, with the smallest savings the hardest. Unable to work or with their wages and hours cut, the number of people who have been unable to avoid building up rent arrears has tripled over the last year, reaching unprecedented levels”

“They now face the very real prospect of being forced into homelessness, with the pandemic not over, unless the UK Government takes emergency action.

“But renters need more than temporary lifelines of support. We urge the UK Government to bring forward the Renters Reform Bill in the Queen’s Speech next month and put in place measures to protect renters in the long-term.”