Free rental helpline launches as cost of renting increases by 94% for some furloughed tenants

Rental deposit replacement scheme, Ome, has brought forward the launch of their free to use Rental Wellbeing Helpline this week, as the company’s latest research highlights the sharp increase in the cost of renting for many UK tenants who now find themselves on furlough due to the spread of the Coronavirus.

Coronavirus and its subsequent impacts have prompted the accelerated launch of Ome’s Rental Wellbeing Helpline to aid tenants who have found themselves suffering mentally, physically or financially with no obvious path to turn to for help.

Ome’s research on furlough rental affordability looked at the change for furloughed tenants based on the increase between the percentage of monthly net income normally required to cover the cost of renting, and the percentage of income required for those now receiving just 80% of their wage on furlough; or a furlough wage cap of £2,500 per month on their gross earnings.

The data shows that with the average UK rent at £959, the average tenant was paying 47% of their monthly net income to cover the cost of renting. However, those on furlough are now paying 57% of their income to cover the cost of renting – an increase of 10%.

This increase doubles in the capital where tenants were already paying a hefty 64% of their net income on renting, however those now on furlough have seen this cost increase to account for 85% of their monthly income; a jump of 20%.

It is no surprise that London accounts for 12 of the 15 areas to see the largest jumps in furlough rental unaffordability.

The worst is Kensington and Chelsea where a furlough reduction in monthly income means renting now accounts for 152% of the average wage, a huge jump of 94%.

Westminster (+76%), Camden (+52%), Richmond (+43%), Hammersmith and Fulham (+40%) and Wandsworth (+39%) have also seen some of the largest increases, with rent now accounting for upward of 93% of income for those on furlough.

Outside of London, Elmbridge has seen the percentage of income spent on renting increase from 51% to 89% for those on furlough. Sevenoaks (+23%), St Albans (+21%), Guildford (+21%) and Chiltern (+19%) have also seen some of the largest jumps for furloughed workers outside of the capital.

For those concerned about how they are going to pay the rent, or for those with any other worries around their current rental situation, Ome has brought forward the launch of their Rental Wellbeing Helpline.

The helpline gives any tenant who has downloaded the free Ome app access to a free legal helpline to receive advice on any legal or debt related matters. The helpline will also provide a free counselling and health information service for those who may be suffering with their mental or physical wellbeing.

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