Rent is UK's biggest debt problem

12 December 2013

Rent arrears is now the fastest growing debt problem in the UK, according to the Money Advice Trust.

So far this year, the charity has received 20,000 calls about rent arrears, an increase of 13% on 2012 but a whopping 150% since the onset of the credit crunch in 2007.

Joanna Elson, the trust's chief executive, warned the UK is in danger of "falling into a rent debt crisis".

She said: "Housing costs are the most important household bill of all, and to see such increasing numbers of people falling behind on rent payments is indicative of how the cost of living squeeze has hit many families very hard since 2007."

The growing number of people struggling with the cost of rent, is echoed by figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released yesterday, which show housing costs are now the biggest drain on a family finances.

The ONS said the average household spent £489 per week last year, with £68 of that going on rent and energy bills.

It was the first time in recent years that these costs accounted for more household spending than transport.

If you're struggling to pay the rent, the Money Advice Trust's has the following advice:

  • Don't bury your head in the sand.
  • Create a budget to see if you can make savings anywhere else.
  • Rent is a priority debt as you could lose your home if don't pay it. So you should pay it before you pay for things that are less important.
  • Make sure you are receiving all the benefits or tax credits you are entitled to.
  • Speak to your landlord and make sure they understand your situation.

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