84 per cent increase in people struggling to pay the rent

Debt advice charity helpline National Debtline has received an 84 per cent increase in the number of people calling for help with rent arrears since the onset of the credit crunch back in 2007.

More and more people are joining the renting market each year, with few able to leave by getting a mortgage. The English Housing Survey released in February showed that the number of people renting in England had increased by around 40 percent since 2005. With relatively few new homes being made available this has lead to a situation where demand is outstripping supply and prices are rising very quickly.
Joanna Elson OBE, Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust, which runs National Debtline, said: "It is clear high rent costs are becoming more and more difficult for people to meet. A few years ago many people in today's rent market would be planning on buying their first home, but now it seems they are struggling to even pay the rent.
"The chances of these renters being able to save the many thousands needed for a deposit are very slim indeed, which will only increase the demand for rental properties and lengthen the spiral into higher and higher rent costs.
"On top of those people who call National Debtline with specific problems in affording the rent, there will be even more who are cutting back sharply elsewhere to make sure they can cover rent payments. This in turn can lead to other debt problems, with credit cards, overdrafts and loans being relied upon to pay for food and other essentials."
National Debtline's top tips for people struggling to make the rent
  • Don't bury your head in the sand - dealing with rent arrears can be an isolating experience, but it is vital to do what you can to get on top of the problem, the first step should be to get some free, confidential, independent advice.
  • Work out a personal budget to help you see where your money is going. See if you can make any savings to help pay the rent by reducing your outgoings.
  • Rent is a priority debt, and you should pay the rent each month before you make any payments on non-priority credit debts such as credit cards and unsecured loans.
  • Make sure you are receiving any Housing Benefit you are entitled to - to make a claim ask your council's Housing Benefit office for a form. Also make sure you are claiming all the benefits and tax credits you can.
  • Speak to your landlord, make sure they understand your situation and that you are doing everything you can.
  • With many types of tenancy the landlord can take swift court action and the court cannot always let you stay in your home. Don't ignore the problem. If you get any court papers, get advice immediately.
  • You cannot be evicted without a court order. If your landlord threatens to throw you out without going to court or harasses you to make you leave, they may be acting illegally. Contact your local council for advice.
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