Britons borrow to keep cover

Nationally that means one in 20 people rely on the facility, with men favouring the option more than women. And in London the number drills down to one in 10 using credit to keep a roof over their heads.

Ian Williams, spokesman for the Debt Advisory Centre, says: “There is nothing more important than the roof over your head, so to learn that so many people feel they have to rely on credit to pay their mortgage or rent – and that this figure has risen - is extremely troubling.

“Rent and mortgage payments are a priority bill – if you need to borrow money to pay them it is a sign that your finances are out of control. If this is the case you should seek expert money advice.”

Research from the firm reveals that 6.5% of UK adults say they had to borrow to pay for the roof over their heads at the end of winter. This is equivalent to 3.27 million people across the country.

When people were asked the same question in August 2013, just 3% of respondents revealed they had used credit to pay their landlord or mortgage provider.

Men were nearly twice as likely as women to use credit like a loan, payday loan, or credit card cash advance to cover the rent or mortgage payment they owe. Nearly one in 10 (8.2%) men did so during February this year, compared to almost one in 20 (4.9%) women.

Meanwhile, younger generations were more likely than older age groups to borrow to pay their rent or mortgage.

More than one in 10 respondents aged between 18 and 34 years old (10.8% of 18 to 24-year-olds and 10.7% of 25 to 34-year-olds) said they had relied on credit to pay the bill for their property during the month.

Across the country, people in London were twice as likely as residents in some other parts of the UK to say they used credit to cover their mortgage or rent. More than one in 10 (11.1%) people living in the capital said they had borrowed to pay this bill during February, compared to just 2.6% of respondents living in the South West.