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Gloucestershire Business News

One in eight renters struggling to pay

More people renting their homes are finding it difficult to make payments than mortgage holders during the coronavirus pandemic.

Research by the Resolution Foundation think tank, based on a YouGov survey of 6,000 adults, revealed one in eight have fallen behind with payments.

That compares to one in 12 of mortgage holders who have been granted payment holidays throughout the crisis if required.

The Government has banned eviction for until June 25 and increased the Local Housing Allowance, but housing charity Shelter said it has seen a rise in calls from renters who have lost their jobs.

And Citizens Advice says around 2.6 million tenants are expected to fall behind on their rent because of the impact of coronavirus.

Resolution Foundation principal policy analyst Lindsay Judge said renters are likely to have been in a weaker financial position heading into the crisis.

She said: "Renters are one and a half to two times more likely to have fallen behind with their housing payments compared to mortgaged home owners.

"Owners entered the crisis with lower average housing costs and a bigger financial buffer than renters and have also been more successful at directly reducing housing costs in recent weeks.

"Renters had lower levels of savings, for example, and they spent considerably more of their income on housing costs in the first place."

Labour MP Clive Betts, who chairs the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee, told the BBC "there is a looming crisis in the private rental sector".

The National Residential Landlords' Association says 54 per cent of its members have experienced payment issues or periods when properties have stood empty unexpectedly.

Chief executive Ben Beadle said: "We think a careful reopening of evictions needs to take place that prioritises pre-COVID debt, antisocial behaviour and prioritises domestic violence."

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