Rent arrears UK's fastest growing debt problem

The number of calls to the charity’s National Debtline service about rent arrears has risen by nearly 150% since 2007 and 13% in the last 12 months.

From January to October this year, the free advice helpline has received nearly 20,000 calls for help from people with rent arrears compared with just 8,000 over the same period in 2007 – an increase of 146%.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: “The long-term trend for rising rent prices is clear and its impact on the debt landscape is significant.

“Rent arrears are now the fastest growing debt problem we help people with at National Debtline and we are in danger of falling into a rent debt crisis.”

She added: “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.

“We hear from thousands of people every month about the difficult decisions they have to make just to hold their family finances together.”

Elson urged debt stricken tenants not to bury their heads and face up to their problems as early as possible.

“The risks of falling behind on rent payments are stark,” she added. “It is vital anyone concerned about their ability to pay the rent seeks free, impartial advice as soon as possible.”