Soaring rent rises will leave nearly 6m private renters in poverty by 2040, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).
The independent charity predicts that, without intervention, rents will rise twice as fast as incomes, increasing from an average private rent of £132 a week now to £250 a week in 2040 in real terms.
Using trends from 5,000 people interviewed in the British Household Panel Survey between 1991 and 2008, JRF also forecasts a decrease in home ownership and a rise in the number of people renting.
The research says one in five (10.6m people), will be living in privately rented homes, up from 7.2m today and with half of them (5.7m) in poverty – a rise of 2.6m.
The report predicts an increase of 39 per cent in social rent costs, to reach £92.10 per week in real terms.
JRF chief executive Julia Unwin said: “These stark findings are a wake-up call for political leaders. After decades of failing to build enough, those in power have a responsibility to act now to build more genuinely affordable homes. Without that we are storing up trouble for the future – a price that will be paid by children starting school life this year. These high costs are bad for families, the economy and government.”