The research found that 30% of people in England who live with a partner and pay rent or a mortgage said that if their relationship were to break down, they could lose their home and have nowhere to go.
This would equate to 4.9 million people if the findings were projected across England, Shelter said.
The charity is urging anyone struggling to keep up with their housing costs, or going through a break-up and worried about losing their home, to get expert help as early as possible.
Shelter said cases it has seen include a woman whose husband left without warning, leaving more than five months of unpaid rent behind.
The woman and her two children became homeless and the council moved them into emergency bed and breakfast accommodation.
More than 1,300 people across England who were living with a partner, either married or unmarried, and paying rent or mortgage payments, took part in Shelter’s research.
Here are some tips from Shelter’s helpline adviser, Nadeem Khan, for people who are facing a break-up and are worried about housing:
- Ask for help early. You can visit www.shelter.org.uk/advice or call Shelter’s free helpline on 0808 800 4444.
- Be clear about your budget. If you were to go it alone, how much could you afford to spend on housing? Your options will depend on your own income, your existing commitments and if you qualify for housing benefit.
- Keep control of costs: Get advice on how to keep your costs down if you move out. If you have a fixed-term rental contract, you will have to pay the rent even if you leave.
- Consider legal advice: You may need it if you have a mortgage or are considering divorce. The Law Society’s “find a solicitor” tool can help you to find a local lawyer.
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