Landlords are being warned that around five million tenants in the UK have no plans in place to pay their rent should they fall ill, according to a report.
The report from Royal London Intermediary also highlights that 27% of tenants who work say they know of another tenant who is struggling to pay their rent. The survey also reveals that 34% of tenants with a job said that if they fall ill, they had no idea how long they could pay their rent for; 60% of tenants said they would be able to survive for three months or less on their savings.
Just over half said they would need to apply for benefits should they become ill and be unable to pay their rent, while 47% said they would need to reduce their household expenses dramatically.
Of those who responded, 7% of renters in paid employment said they had already spoken with a financial adviser and most said they would turn to family or friends for help.
Royal London's head of protection, Debbie Kennedy, warned that renters who believed they could claim housing benefit when ill will find the reality to be 'very different'.
She explained: “Housing benefit cuts mean that more people will not get their rent paid if their income unexpectedly fell. It's bad enough to be taken ill without the anxiety of falling behind with rents and facing eviction. Income protection is more affordable than most people realise so they can provide the financial safety net.”
Call to delay energy efficiency target
Meanwhile, the government has been urged to delay its energy efficiency targets which are set to come in from 2018 by the Residential Landlords' Association (RLA). The RLA warns that if the targets go-ahead as the government plans, then rents will rise 'substantially' as a result.
The RLA said in a response to the Public Accounts Committee that the timescale is too short for most landlords in the UK to meet. Under the scheme, all rented properties will need to meet a minimum energy performance certificate rating of E or above.
The RLA said: “The costs incurred by landlords to carry out improvements will likely be passed to tenants via rent increases.”
The organisation also warns that landlords will be unable to pay for the necessary improvements, particularly to those homes with cavity walls, without a public subsidy to help them.
The RLA explained: “The government has delayed the collection of a register of exemptions and, we believe, they should also delay the implementation of the minimum standards too.”