1,500 calls daily for rent arrears help

A leading debt charity is picking up on calls from around 1,500 tenants a day with rent arrears problems.

National Debtline say more than half the calls every day are from private and social housing renters with money problems.

At least 10% of the calls are to discuss help with rent arrears problems – and the number is rising.

Calls from desperate tenants behind with the rent have soared 28% in the past two years and 9% in the last 12 months.

Tenants calling about debt problems, including rent arrears, make up more than half the calls to National Debtline.

Advisers have five debt tips for tenants and landlords –

  • Talk to each other: Make sure you understand each other’s  situation and try and work out a plan to keep paying the rent and to clear the arrears before resorting to court action
  • Don’t hope the problem will go away: Dealing with rent arrears is tough, but get on top of the problem. The first step should be to get some free, confidential, independent advice.
  • Tenants must spend to a personal budget: See if you can make any savings to help pay the rent by reducing outgoings
  • Rent is a priority debt: Paying the rent is more important than credit cards and satellite TV. Not paying them may damage your credit history but failing to pay the rent will lead to you losing your home
  • Check out benefits: Make a claim for housing benefit and tax credits

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust said: “It is clearly difficult for people to save the money for a deposit to buy a house and this has led to more people remaining in the renting market for longer. Where there is limited supply and greater demand, rising prices will always follow.

“However, rising rent prices are not only making it harder for people to save for a deposit, they’re also pushing more people in debt. This is a dangerous spiral; with increasing numbers of people entering the renting market, and fewer people leaving it, it is hard to see how the situation will improve.

“Many people’s budgets are tight already with stagnant earnings growth and inflation above 2%. Sharp jumps in renting costs can push individuals and households over the edge and into an unmanageable situation.”