Politicians must commit to building more social homes to address the ‘precarious’ situation many renters find themselves in, Shelter said.
Half of working private renters are only one paycheque away from potentially losing their home, according to new research.
Some 51% of private renters surveyed by housing charity Shelter said they would not be able to keep paying their rent for a full month from their savings if they lost their job.
More than a third (34%) said they would be unable to pay any rent at all from savings if they became unemployed.
The charity’s survey showed that more than half (55%) of private renters have experienced a rent hike in the past year.
Politicians must commit to building more social homes to address the “precarious” situation that many renters find themselves in, the organisation said.
Shelter commissioned YouGov to survey 1,498 working adults in England in June who are private renters and said the situation appeared to have worsened since a similar survey in 2021.
Those findings showed a lower proportion – 39% – of working renters said they would struggle to pay a month’s rent from their savings if they became unemployed.
The latest survey also suggested more than a third (37%) of the 1,401 private renters who were struggling to pay or are already behind on their rent said an increase in monthly payments is a reason.
A separate survey carried out in March of 2,002 social renting adults in England showed that more than three-quarters (76%) said that without their social home, they would not be able to afford to live in their local area.
Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The severe lack of social homes means swathes of people are barely scraping by as they’re forced to compete for grossly expensive private rentals, because there is nothing else.
“With food and household bills continuing to surge, the situation is precarious for thousands of renters who are one paycheque away from losing their home, and the spectre of homelessness.
“The time for piecemeal policies is over. To jam the brakes on the housing emergency, we need a genuinely affordable alternative to private renting.
“We know social housing works for most people because it’s secure and the rents are tied to local incomes. Instead of empty words, the Government and every political party must sign up to building thousands more social homes.”
A Government spokesman said: “We have a strong track record of delivering affordable homes to rent and buy across the country.
“Since 2010, we have delivered over 659,500 new affordable homes through our £11.5 billion affordable homes programme, including 166,300 homes for social rent.
“Our landmark Renters (Reform) Bill will also deliver a better deal for renters, giving tenants greater security in their homes and preventing large rent increases being used as a backdoor method of eviction.”