Campaign group Generation Rent has called for the government to impose a rent freeze to alleviate the financial pressures on tenants.
This is in response to nearly half (45%) of private renters being asked to pay more in rent, amongst those who have lived in their home for longer than a year.
Alicia Kennedy, director of Generation Rent, said: “With energy bills about to shoot up once again, renters cannot afford to be blindsided by an increase in their rent.
“The country faces the real prospect of millions of people being unable to find the money to cover rent, heat their homes comfortably and put food on the table. Renters are terrified, knowing they face a winter of destitution.
“Ultimately that will lead to a further rise in evictions and homelessness. The government must intervene and temporarily stop landlords from raising the rent, as well as pausing evictions to keep renters in their homes.”
The energy price cap is being raised going into Winter, leading to fears that rents will continue to skyrocket – as landlords pass on higher costs to renters.
Market rents increased by 11.8% between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022 in the UK as a whole, according to Rightmove.
This is worth £119 extra per month on the average rent, or £1426 per year, twice the average increase in the energy price cap in April.
One in five renters (20%) who faced a rent increase in their current tenancy were asked to pay more than £100 extra per month.
Just over half of them paid it (54%), just 28% successfully negotiated a smaller increase, while 13% were forced to move out.
One in nine private renters getting Universal Credit or Housing Benefit (11%) is already in rent arrears, and a further 39% are cutting back on spending, using savings or borrowing money to stay on top of rent. Moreover, nearly a third of private renters who don’t get these benefits (31%) are making similar sacrifices to pay rent.
When asked what approach they will take to cope with the cost of living crisis, the most common answer among private renters not getting benefits is using their savings (35%) and for private renters getting benefits it is “don’t know” with 39%. 14% of all private renters say they will use more credit, while just 10% feel able to work more hours.
Generation Rent called on the government to protect renters from in-tenancy rent increases by freezing rents on existing tenancies, suspending no-fault evictions, and making all other evictions discretionary, to stop people who fall into arrears for reasons beyond their control from being made homeless.