Could more than 2 million tenants struggle to pay their rent?

A survey of over 1,000 renters conducted by flatsharing portal, ideal flatmate, has laid bare a potential collision course set to develop between tenants and their landlords and highlights the vulnerable financial position of tenants across the UK.

According to the poll as many as 40% of current renters have seen their ability to pay rent hit by the coronavirus crisis. There are currently 5.8m households in the private rented sector, implying 2.32m could be struggling to pay their rent in the months ahead. According to the Office for National Statistics, those privately renting spend 34% of their gross household income on rent and with the hit to incomes being experienced by millions across the UK it is perhaps no surprise that housing payments are under threat.

The study found that not being able to keep up with rental payments was the number one concern of current tenants, with the ability to pay council tax, financial instability, and ‘survival’ also being cited as key areas of fear during the epidemic.

With the country being on forced lockdown at the moment, perhaps encouragingly in terms of mental health,  72% of tenants responded by saying that they felt their home gave them enough space for privacy and alone time. However, having a garden or some form of outside space was listed as the number one thing renters would change about their existing property.

Landlords may be concerned at the findings of the survey, with fears that tenants may default on their rent payments in the coming months.

Tom Gatzen, ideal flatmate, co-founder said:

“Clearly this is a very concerning time for many renters and the findings of this study bring into focus the worries many tenants have at the moment.

“It is very important that renters get in touch with their landlords as soon as possible if they feel they may not be able to keep up with their monthly payments and we would encourage all landlords to be constructive in their conversations with any tenants who are struggling through no fault of their own during the current crisis.”

Sprift 2 end of article

Email the story to a friend


  1. James Wilson

    I think all tenants should get together en masse and just not pay for a year.    Estate Agents loved it when this idea was proposed to deal with Rightmove.   This is an Atlas Shrugged moment.  The rentier class have had it there own way for so long.  Time for working people to take a stand.  There is nothing rentiers can do about it.  They can’t live in 15 houses at the same time!

    1. Gromit

      No rent -> Landlord bankrupt

      Landlord bankrupt -> mortgage not paid

      Mortgage not paid -> house repossessed

      House repossessed -> tenants evicted & no houses to rent


    2. Will2

      There is always a choice agents can use Zoopla. Tenants have a choice social housing or the park bench (if the parks remain open). James just likes winding people up.

    3. Eyereaderturnedposter12

      Hi James,


      ”Time for working people to take a stand”? From which century did you take this little nugget of rhetoric?

      We’re all ”working people”, and frankly at a time where our Govt. saw fit to engage in economic suicide, to then suggest further deterioration of financial ‘flow’, it’s nothing short of ill-conceived and irresponsible (both morally, and fiscally).

      I don’t know what it is that you do for a living (feel free to enlighten us), but I am absolutely certain that whatever it is you do…you would be negatively affected further, by your proposed stance.

      We live in a time where some there have been great shows of humanity and mutual support across all industries and society as a whole…sadly, there are also those seeking to take selfish advantage of the hardships we’re all being forced to go through. Such opportunism, in my view, is a gross show of contempt for the nation, your fellow countrymen. To wish/propagate the idea that we should damage our economy any more than it already has, is frankly, disgusting.

      You should be aware by now, that nothing in life is free. I hope you remember your crassness when your NI, income tax, and almost all other taxes, increase. We will all pay for this, and the effects will be felt for years (if not decades) to come.



  2. drasperger

    Government intervention is at the income end of the money chain, but there are clearly some who will fall through the net…….surely it would be possible for one of the referencing companies to offer a check for genuine hardship?  Perhaps agreement to open banking and completion of an online form that could enable access to a “fund” to plug some of the holes in the net?

    1. Woodentop

      We haven’t found any slip throught the cracks. Those on benefits are unaffected but seem to think they don’t have to hand over their housing benefits for 3 months and its a cash windfall TO SPEND ON THEMSELVES!

  3. Woodentop

    2 Million plus tenants have no more excuses for not having the time to clean their flats.

  4. DASH94

    We’ve had a load of enquiries about gardening and decorating, so we may see massive improvements 🙂


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a reply

If you want to create a user account so you can log in, click here

More top news stories

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.