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Some progress, but financially vulnerable tenants overlooked by Renters’ Reform Bill, says StepChange

17 May 2023

The government has today introduced the Renters’ Reform Bill to Parliament.

Responding to the announcement, Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs said:

“The Renters’ Reform Bill sets out important steps to create a fairer and more secure system for private renters, including an end to no-fault evictions and measures to improve housing standards in the private rented sector (PRS).

“While these changes will secure much-needed protections for many tenants in the PRS, it’s important the bill does not overlook PRS tenants in or at risk of financial difficulty. Our latest polling shows there are one in six PRS tenants (1.2m people) are turning to credit to make it through to payday.

“The ongoing cost of living crisis, combined with years of stagnant wages, has made it increasingly difficult for people to build financial resilience if they are suddenly faced with a loss of income due to circumstances outside of their control. If a PRS renter experiencing financial difficulty falls into rent arrears, there are few protections in place to prevent them from losing their home, especially in comparison to the social housing sector or mortgage holders.

“As part of the government’s plans to reform this sector, it must ensure PRS tenants experiencing financial hardship get the support they need, including an end to ‘hair-trigger’ evictions for households who fall into rent arrears and an increase in the use of affordable repayment plans, with free advice made available to struggling tenants.

“More widely, the government must consider the affordability of rent in the PRS, with housing benefit and discretionary support currently falling short of what’s needed to prevent financially vulnerable tenants from falling into problem debt simply from meeting their essential housing costs.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Polling figures for May 2023 are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,120 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 5th May 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


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