The situation is even more stark for those with children, where 60 per cent could be one pay cheque away from falling behind after a month.
The survey found that 63 per cent of private renting households have no savings at all, a fact Shelter said was not surprising given they spent an average of 41 per cent of their monthly income on rent alone.
The charity said the results were a clear sign that more social homes were required as a “genuinely affordable” alternative to private renting.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said that politicians had “super-charged our housing emergency” by allowing the number of truly affordable social homes to fall.
She continued: “Millions of working people are now caught in an endless cycle of paying grossly expensive private rents they can barely afford – with all the insecurity that brings. Many are terrified that even a short-term dip in income could result in them losing their home for good.”