The number of private tenants in rent arrears in England could treble in 2021, according to rental platform Canopy.
This is based off of research from LSE London and Trust for London, which revealed 700,000 tenants and their landlords could be in financial difficulty this year.
According to the National Residential Landlords Association, 7% of private renters have built arrears due to COVID-19.
Whilst the average arrears were between £251 and £500, the survey found that of those in arrears, 18% now have rent debts of more than £1,000.
In addition, the research shows that younger people are most likely to have been affected with 14% of renters aged 18 to 24, and 10% of those aged 25 to 34 having built arrears since March 2020.
The self-employed who rent were also most likely to be in arrears, with 17% saying they had developed rent debts since March.
On a regional basis, 11% of renters in the West Midlands had built arrears since March, the largest proportion of any region in England and Wales.
This was followed by London where 9% of renters had accrued arrears.
Furthermore, Canopy do not believe that the government’s ban on repossessions is addressing this growing problem of rent arrears.
Tahir Farooqui, founder and chief executive of Canopy, said: “While many vulnerable tenants have been protected from homelessness from the ban, landlords have been put under mounting financial pressure during the pandemic and face lengthy court possessions proceedings, once the eviction ban is lifted on 31 March 2021.
“To help support landlords, we have just launched a new insurance policy that protects them from missed rental payments with up to 12 months’ rent paid in full should the tenant fall into arrears and not pay the rent.”