50% of private renters are worried about their housing situation, according to a survey from Aldermore of 2,000 renters.
Rent increases, landlords selling up, and becoming unemployed have been the key worries for tenants during the pandemic.
Financial security is a big concern for 41% of renters. Since March 2020, 9% admitted they have struggled to pay their rent with a further 22% also experiencing unexpected rent increases. To help get by during these unusual circumstances, 14% of renters admit to using their savings to get by and 16% have had to use their overdraft or credit card.
This pressure is felt significantly among 18 to 34 year olds, with 64% admitting they are worried about their housing situation. Additionally, a further 20% of this age group have seen rent costs increase in their area since March. The situation has become more difficult for the age group with 31% being placed on furlough or losing employment since March, significantly higher than the 22% average across all renters.
The impact of lockdown has triggered many renters to rethink their living arrangements. 26% are now looking to buy a property and are actively saving for a deposit, with 21% motivated to move into different rental accommodation.
The main things that renters desire that they do not currently have in their property were a bigger kitchen (32%), more living space (27%), a more energy efficient home (25%) and a garden (24%).
When asked about their future plans, 37% plan to remain in their property over the next five years and one in five (18%) plan to move to a different rental property. 22% state they will look to buy their own property in the next five years; this ambition was greatest in Northern Ireland (32%), London (29%), the South East (24%) and the West Midlands (23%).
Jon Cooper, head of mortgage distribution at Aldermore, said: “The impact of the pandemic has been as much financial as it has been on health in the UK. It is concerning that so many renters are feeling anxious about their housing situation, especially as the home has become an even more significant and important part of people’s lives this year than ever before.
“Encouragingly, landlords appear to have been supportive throughout this difficult time, with 74% of renters saying their experience has been positive, and nearly nine in 10 renters saying communication with their landlord has been good. Open dialogue and listening to tenants’ concerns or difficulties is an important part of being a landlord and, if they are financially struggling, lenders can provide options, such as mortgage payment breaks, to assist in managing portfolios and ease this strain during these difficult times.”