Increased number of over-60s facing rent or mortgage arrears
An increasing number of older people are facing homelessness as they struggle with rising rent and mortgage arrears, a debt charity has warned.
Stepchange Debt Charity said it has seen an increase in the number of people over 60 seeking its help, with 1,837 people aged 60 and over contacting it for help with mortgage and rent arrears, up from 1,084 in 2009.
The debt charity has also seen average rent arrears from those who came to it for help rise to £825 in 2012, up from £755 in 2009.
But the charity said it was particularly concerned at the number of older people seeking its help who still have mortgages outstanding. The average mortgage arrears for over 60s increased from £3,563 in 2009 to £3,998 last year.
In total, 4,317 people over the age of 60 who sought its help in 2012 still had mortgages to repay, up from 2,958 in 2009.
Delroy Corinaldi, external affairs director at StepChange Debt Charity, said: "Struggling to keep a roof over your head is incredibly difficult and stressful at any age, but even more so as you get older. Nobody wants to be facing the prospect of facing homelessness in later life.
"It is crucial that anyone struggling to keep up mortgage or rent payments seeks help as soon as they realise that they have a problem because there is help available. The sooner they seek help the greater the chance that they will be able to stay in their home."
Top tips for facing up to debt worries
1. Identify just how much debt you have
This means opening all the post, calling any companies you owe money to, and finding out just how bad everything has got.
2. Draw up a budget
Unless you are certain of everything you have coming in, and everything going out, there's no way you can get a handle on what you are spending.
3. Work on your budget
Try to improve your income and reduce spending. At the very least you need to bring this back to a situation where you are spending no more than is coming in.
4. Contact your creditors
Contact everyone you owe money to, and ask if they will accept the reduced payments you can afford.
5. Stick with it
It may be tempting to go back to your old ways, but the rewards of keeping debts under control is a retirement where you get to think about something other than money.
Where to seek advice
- Stepchange: www.stepchange.org / 0800 138 1111
- National Debtline: www.nationaldebtline.co.uk / 0808 808 4000
- Age UK: www.ageuk.org.uk / 0800 169 6565
“Arrears” tend to be associated with debt. If you fall behind and miss payments on any outstanding debt, the amount you failed to pay is an arrear – the amount accrued from the date on which the first missed payment was due.