Concerning research from a YouGov poll has revealed that almost five million renters in the UK have no protection of any kind in place to cover their rent payments if they became too ill to earn for three months or more. This is on the back of recent cuts to housing benefit, which means tenants and landlords are even less protected than before.
According to the YouGov survey commissioned by provider Royal London, over a quarter of renters know someone who has struggled to pay the bills. But that was not the only surprise the survey revealed. More than a third of those surveyed also said that they had no idea how long they could survive on their savings, with 60% of people admitting they would only survive for three months or less.
Fewer than one in ten renters in paid employment have even spoken to a financial adviser about their finances. Instead, the most common place they turn to for advice is family and friends. Debbie Kennedy, head of protection for provider Royal London Intermediary, highlighted that a raft of cuts to housing benefit meant that more tenants would not get their rent paid for if their income was suddenly reduced though not being able to work.
Experts predict that the private renting market will increase over the next 10 years, rising to 59% of 20-39 year olds. As the survey revealed that 39% of people would dip into their savings if they were struggling to pay the rent, it is even more important for renters to protect themselves against the worst case scenarios, as all their hard work saving for a house deposit could be quickly undone.
Kennedy also warned: “renters who assume that housing benefit will be there when they need it could find the reality is very different … Income protection may be more affordable than people realise and can provide a financial safety net and enable people to focus on getting better”.
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