Research from Shelter found that 474,000 tenants had received or been threatened by with an eviction notice in the last month and 411,000 private renters were behind on their rent which puts their tenancy at risk.
This combined figure rises to 1.1 million when children who live in the household are included.
Private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK rose by 6.1 per cent in the 12 months to October, according to the Office for National Statistics, the largest annual percentage change since record began in January 2016. One in seven tenants, equivalent to 1.1 million adults – have had their rent put up in the last month.
The steep rise in housing costs has left 3.5 million tenants worried that they may become homeless.
More than two in five private renters who are struggling or behind with their rent say this is due to the increase in payments, and more than three in 10 have borrowed money in order to pay their rent.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “A terrible winter of evictions lies ahead as millions of renters’ grapple with runaway rents and the enduring cost of living crisis. Every day our frontline teams take more calls from families living the nightmare of rent rises they cannot afford. And every day we speak to more families facing the horror of losing their home.”
The lack of affordable social homes is pushing millions of households into private rental accommodation leaving them struggling to cope with record high rents, the charity said.
The government’s freeze of housing benefit for almost four years is exacerbating the plight of tenants, it added, as financial support is falling far short of the real cost of renting.
Shelter is calling on the government to end its freeze on housing support.