A survey by Opinium found that tenants are also worried about their own financial situations as 48 per cent said they were concerned about the impact Covid-19 will have on their accommodation.
According to the study, 58 per cent of renters who were working before the outbreak have seen their employment affected as a result of the pandemic. Furthermore, 43 per cent of those whose employment has been impacted have already struggled to pay rent, bills or other essentials.
A quarter of those whose work has been affected have left home, moved in with other people or requested to end their tenancy early. Furthermore, 24 per cent of these people have had to dip into their savings to make ends meet.
Seeking financial help
A sixth of renters in the UK have sought financial help since the outbreak. This rises to 31 per cent among those whose employment has been impacted, with 13 per cent applying for Universal Credit to help with rent payments and 11 per cent borrowing from friends and family.
Renters responding to the survey said they would welcome policies to assist them financially with 82 per cent in favour of no energy cut-offs and 80 per cent wanting to see rental increases frozen. Additionally, 76 per cent would like to see Universal Credit payments advanced while 74 per cent would welcome a rent freeze.
However, many renters are not aware of the support already available; two-thirds know the government has made £500m available to fund households experiencing financial hardship, but 61 per cent do not know what that means or entails.
Furthermore 43 per cent are completely unaware that the government will increase the housing element of Universal Credit to cover the cheapest 30 per cent of rents in an area. Some 19 per cent are also unaware that government has banned new eviction proceedings against tenants for the next three months.
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “It’s worrying to see that the vast majority of renters and landlords are concerned about rent payments. Unfortunately, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues, more people may see changes in their income which could leave them stressed about affording rent whilst providing for themselves and their families.
“Clearly not enough is being done to explain and highlight these policies, but we would urge everyone to look into these and understand what help they may be eligible for. Both renters and landlords should take full advantage of the government schemes available during this difficult period.”
James Endersby, CEO at Opinium, added: “Our research shows that renters are finding it particularly tough. Many have found their employment situation has changed, but their rental payments still remain, and this is already becoming a struggle for some.
“It’s clear that renters do not have the full perspective of their rights and entitlements that are crucial in guiding them through the outbreak, but these measures could make all the difference.”