Research by LSE London estimating the impact of COVID-19 on England’s private rented sector has shown that there could be three times the current number of private tenants in rent arrears in the next 12 months.
This could affect as many as 700,000 tenants and their landlords, and could lead to at least three times the number of formal evictions as before the crisis, adding 30,000 more households to temporary accommodation.
The research was conducted by Professor Christine Whitehead and Dr Nancy Holman of LSE London, a research centre at the Department of Geography and Environment. It was funded by a grant from the Trust for London.
Where now for the private rented sector recommends enabling people facing possible eviction to approach local authorities as quickly as possible, and that local authorities help through their homelessness prevention powers and through currently under-used Discretionary Housing Payments.
Susie Dye, Grants Manager at Trust for London, said: “The research brings into sharp relief what we already knew about the private rented sector, particularly in London but also across England. Tenants’ lack of security mean that those losing income, maybe for the first time due to COVID-19, are at risk of debt and losing their homes. It might not happen rapidly due to the welcome measures the Government and local authorities have taken, but stress for those affected is real. We’d love to see the Government’s promise to stop no fault evictions enacted in the Renters Rights Bill, and as recommended here, benefits and local authority homelessness prevention being strengthened, so that the system is not overwhelmed.”
Trust for London works on some of London's most pressing social issues, trying to improve the lives of Londoners by increasing their pay, helping reduce costs of living and supporting community groups to thrive.