With the London Assembly Housing Committee, I have published a report highlighting the growing issues Londoners face with their housing costs.
The report ‘The Pandemic, Financial Health and Housing Security’ was published today, following an investigation and new research looking at how different groups of Londoners have been affected by recent events.
We heard direct evidence in City Hall from those affected and looked at the ways in which high housing costs have exacerbated the challenges of the pandemic and affected the security of their housing.
The report highlights a number of people’s specific living situations and includes findings from two surveys: one from Talk London and the other a representative survey by YouGov. This found that, combining social and private renters, nearly 200,000 Londoners may now be struggling to pay their rent.
For many Londoners, housing is their single biggest expense and we know that housing pressures intensified during the pandemic. As we move on, many Londoners still face job insecurity and protections like the eviction ban have ended, which in turn impacts people’s housing security.
The escalating cost of living crisis means that more and more Londoners are feeling the squeeze. Earnings are not keeping pace with inflation, so people are experiencing real hardship when it comes to being able to afford food, their bills and transport. On top of that, housing affordability and security is a major cause of worry and stress and we will only see this intensifying over the coming months.
Financial pressures lead to stress and anxiety, which has detrimental health impacts, both physical and mental. Many people during our investigation told us how they have been impacted not only by the pandemic, but by the rising costs of housing. The Mayor and the Government need to take heed and listen to what Londoners are telling them.
Our new housing cost and security survey, commissioned from YouGov, found that in London:
13 per cent of people in the survey who own or rent their property felt more at risk of losing their home in January 2022 than before the pandemic. Across London, this could mean around 750,000 Londoners are currently feeling more at risk of losing their home.
10 per cent of people who were renting from a council or housing association and were keeping up with payments before the pandemic are now struggling. That could mean almost 90,000 people in London who are newly struggling with social rent payments.
Around eight per cent of respondents who had been renting from a private landlord and keeping up with rental payments in 2020, were then struggling by January 2022. This means that potentially 100,000 private renters across London are now struggling with their rent.
Combining social and private renters, nearly 200,000 Londoners may now be struggling to pay their rent.
Five per cent of those who owned property with a mortgage and were keeping up with their mortgage payments in 2020 were then struggling in January 2022.
Across London, this means that there could be almost 60,000 people struggling to keep up with mortgage payments who weren’t struggling at the start of the pandemic.