Cover magazine – 25th January 2018
UK renters are putting themselves at risk of homelessness by failing to have a financial safety net in place, research from Scottish Widows has warned.
More than a third (38%) of private renters admit that they’d not be financially secure if their household lost its main income.
And nearly four in 10 (39%) – amounting to 4.14 million people – said that if they fell seriously ill and were unable to pay their rent, “they would have no idea” where they would go or could be left homeless.
Just 4% of private renters have critical illness cover and 22% have life insurance, leaving them at risk of eviction and financial hardship due to lack of a back-up plan if the unexpected were to happen.
The research also revealed that more than half (51%) of renters worry about unexpectedly being unable to pay rent, a bigger concern for them than the prospect of living in a substandard property with serious issues like electrical problems or mould (36%), or having a difficult landlord (39%).
Despite this, almost a quarter (24%) admit they’ve never thought about what they’d do if they became ill and couldn’t afford the rent. And of those who have thought about it, over two fifths (44%) say they’d have to ask their parents to cover their payments, and two-fifths (41%) would have to move back into the parental home.
When asked about how they’d cope should they or their partner not be able to work for six months, a third (33%) of renters say they’d dip into their savings, and almost as many (31%) say they’d rely on state benefits.
Johnny Timpson at Scottish Widows, said: “It’s important for people living in rental accommodation to understand the risks of signing a tenancy contract without any financial back-up in place, particularly if they don’t have much in the way of savings.
“Our research demonstrates how critical it is to think ahead, and while no-one wants to think about the worst happening, having a safety net in place will provide peace of mind about avoiding eviction and being able to keep up with regular outgoings such as household bills.”