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One renter every minute: How the pandemic exacerbated existing problems and what that means for the Renters Reform Bill

26 March 2021

One renter every minute: How the pandemic exacerbated existing problems and what that means for the Renters Reform Bill [ 2.2 mb]

Looking back on one year of the pandemic for private renters

The pandemic exacerbated existing problems and created new ones.

Renters have had a rollercoaster of a year, and the pandemic has exposed the cracks in the private renting sector (PRS).

Financial shocks caused by the pandemic have exposed the unaffordability of renting, and left many in arrears. Renters feel on edge and insecure, fearing  the consequences of a missed rent payment or flagging a problem. Tenants don’t want to rock the boat and risk being forced out of their homes, so they put up with enduring disrepair issues. 

What does this mean for the Renters Reform Bill?

The Renters Reform Bill was announced in 2019. Government has the chance to make lasting change to the private rented sector through meaningful reform. 

The issues we have seen brought to the surface this past year need to be addressed in the Bill to give tenants a secure and safe home.

The key issues

More than 1 in 3 Tenants Voice renters feel insecure in being able to stay in their tenancy during the pandemic. Tenants are scared of potential landlord action, and with few other options, eviction can have devastating long term effects.

Poor Quality
The majority of renters are experiencing disrepair in their homes. 2 in 3 of Tenants Voice panellists experienced disrepair or maintenance issues in the last 3 months. Most deal with long waits for repair and fear of retaliatory eviction. The consequences of disrepair have been magnified by the requirement to stay at home.

Renting is unaffordable for many, with the average renter spending 40% of their take home wage on rent alone. Spending this amount on rent leaves little for a financial safety net or other essentials. This has been particularly difficult during coronavirus.


  • End 'no-fault' evictions through Section 21, to protect renters from retaliatory eviction and increase their security

  • Improved tenancy security through open-ended tenancies, so renters aren't forced into fixed terms or exposed to rent hikes each year.

  • Better regulation and oversight to set consistent standards, providing more protection for tenants