The Government should introduce a ‘help to rent’ scheme to combat the “uphill battle” faced by homeless people trying to get off the streets.

New figures show rents in London are expected to increase by more than 15% over the next five years. Meaning more vulnerable people will be priced out of the private sector.

Around a third of respondents in the latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Residential Market Survey believe access to private rented properties had already fallen among people on housing benefits.

Caps to housing benefits were cited by 29% of respondents as a key reason for this.

As part of their A Home For Cathy campaign – aimed at tackling UK homelessness – RICS has joined forces with charity Crisis to call on Government to do more to support vulnerable tenants.

The survey showed 52% of the UK’s private landlords would be prepared to rent their properties to homeless people or those on housing benefits if the Government introduced some form of state-endorsed deposit guarantor scheme.

RICS CEO Sean Tompkins said: “We see this as a matter of public interest.

“In the current climate, it can be hard enough for young professionals to make ends meet. But for those on benefits, the pressures may be insurmountable.

However, if Government were to put in place additional support measures through the introduction of help to rent schemes, the door to the rental market may once again be opened for Britain’s most vulnerable.”

Of those surveyed, 38% said they had seen a fall rather than a rise in London housing prices over the past three months.

But nationally rents are expected to rise by more than excess of 20% over the next five years. House prices are projected to increase by around 18% over the same period.

Chief executive of Crisis Jon Sparkes said: “This survey highlights the uphill battle many homeless people face when trying to enter the private rented sector. Renting is often the only way out of homelessness, but the vast majority of landlords now consider it too risky to rent to homeless people.

“This is a desperate situation to be in: to be ready to move on and start rebuilding your life only to encounter financial barriers and closed doors.

He said the charity’s Home: No Less Will Do campaign called on the Government to underwrite a national rent deposit guarantee to provide reassurance to landlords and support to the growing numbers of people stuck in the “homelessness trap”,

He added: They already help first-time buyers struggling for a deposit - we’d like to see them extend this help to those who need it most.”

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