There has been a large increase in the number of private tenants seeking debt and eviction advice from the Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS).
The CCCS, the UK’s leading debt charity is receiving an increasing number of calls from renters and those living in social housing, as a result of their inability to keep up with their rent payments.
The debt charity had previously seen large numbers of homeowners who were worried about losing their homes, however the bulk of new enquiries now come from tenants fearing eviction.
The CCCS is warning that this sudden rise in renters seeking help with eviction may lead to increased homelessness and says that rent is a priority debt which should be paid before any non-priority debts.
The problem could be exacerbated for those claiming housing benefit as the new limits set by the budget on the amounts that claimants can claim for their monthly rent is set to fall. The new rates will cap payments at £400 per week, which may be sufficient in regions outside London and the South East, but is likely to cause problems for those living in the capital and surrounding areas where rents are more costly.
Laura Carver, CCCS helpline manager is surprised by this sudden increase in the number of calls received from tenants and says:
“While we have always had more people in rented accommodation calling for help with their debts, they have usually been able to maintain their rent payments. This suggests that the personal finance situation for those in rented accommodation is deteriorating to the extent that they many end up homeless.”
The CCCS offers free debt advice and can be contacted via their free-phone helpline on 0800 138 1111, 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.