The Covid-19 pandemic has left many people, including private renters, facing financial difficulty, leading to some concerns that there will be a significant increase in the number of private tenants who will fall behind on rental payments over the next few months, but new research shows that many households are now making significant savings as they continue to slash their personal spending on non-essential goods.
Shelter says that the number of private tenants in England who have fallen behind on rent has already doubled during the coronavirus crisis, as many people face financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
Shelter claims that there will be a sharp increase in evictions once the existing evictions ban is lifted next month, but this has been rejected by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA).
The trade body says that Shelter’s claim is wide of the mark and fails to acknowledge the fact that the vast majority of landlords are doing all they can to sustain existing tenancies.
Shelter’s research also fails to take into consideration the fact that many households have made significant savings in recent months.
New research shows that 71% of UK households have saved money during lockdown, saving an average of £2,879 over the last 13 weeks, which is equivalent to an average weekly saving of £221.50.
The study by online financial comparison experts money.co.uk shows that households could save an average of £8,638 by end of 2020 if they maintain existing spending habits
Salman Haqqi, personal finance expert at money.co.uk, said: “During lockdown, many people have cut back on their spending on non-essential items. The savings have been largely made by households cutting back on the amount of cash they spend on items like alcohol, cigarettes, clothes, make-up, cosmetics and grooming products, meals out, haircuts and beauty treatments, plus shop bought lunches and takeaway coffees.
“They’ve also spent less because many are not having to use their car to travel to work and have also cut back on other outgoings like sports and gym memberships."
Outside London, the Welsh have saved most on cosmetics, perfume and male grooming products during lockdown – an average of £21.46 per week.
Those living in the West Midlands have saved the most on eating out during lockdown – with an average saving of £36.38 per week.
And those living in the North East have saved most on not running their cars during lockdown – an average saving of £37.69 per week.
Haqqi continued: “Almost eight out of ten householders we surveyed [79%] say they aim to continue to save as much as possible even though lockdown is relaxing.
“The biggest opportunity to save money, according to our study, is in cutting back on going for meals out. More than a third of the 2,000 people we surveyed said that would be the top priority for continuing to save money.”
Brits are less likely to continue to try and save money on paying for haircuts, buying cosmetics or grooming products, gym and sports memberships and cigarettes, the study reveals.
Haqqi added: “Cutting back on shop bought lunches [30%], takeaway coffee and new clothes [29%], running the car [20%] and buying alcohol [17%] are the other areas people are likely to continue to try and cut back in order to save once lockdown is over.”