1.4 million Brits falling behind with their rent or mortgage

1.4 million Brits falling behind with their rent or mortgage

Almost one and a half million people are falling behind with their rent or mortgage payments, new research from Shelter shows today.

In a YouGov survey of over 4,000 British adults by the housing charity, 4 per cent of rent or mortgage payers say they are currently falling behind with their payments. This means the equivalent of 1.4 million people starting the New Year in rent or mortgage arrears that could put their home at risk.

The survey also found the number of people constantly struggling to pay their rent or mortgage has increased 44 per cent over the past year, with 7.8 million people now facing a monthly battle to keep a roof over their heads.

Shelter is urging anyone struggling with their housing costs to seek advice early at shelter.org.uk/housinghelp to help them get on top of their payments and stay in their home.

The charity is also stressing the dangers of turning to short-term, high interest credit as a way to help meet housing costs, with the research revealing that of British rent or mortgage payers over the past year:

• Almost a million people (2.5% of those that pay rent or a mortgage) used a payday loan to help pay for their rent or mortgage.
• 2.8 million people (7% of those that pay rent or a mortgage) used an unauthorised overdraft to help pay their rent or mortgage, and of those 10% did so every month.

Mandy is a mum of three from West Sussex who had fallen behind with her rent and in desperation she took out a payday loan.  She says: “I felt I had to take out the loan but found I couldn’t pay it back the next month. It’s just made everything ten times worse. I am at my wits end and it can just feel completely hopeless.”

Campbell Robb, Shelter’s chief executive, said: “It’s shocking to think that so many families will be starting the New Year with a huge weight hanging over them, trapped in a daily struggle to keep their home. 

“Payday loans may seem like a quick fix, but the huge interest charges mean things can quickly spiral out of control. We know it can feel like there’s nowhere to turn to but no one has to struggle alone – Shelter can help.

“It’s vital that anyone who’s having difficulty paying their rent or mortgage gets advice now. Don’t wait until things reach breaking point later in the year – it could leave your family’s home at risk.”

Shelter is warning that as austerity measures start to bite this year more people who are already feeling the squeeze could be at risk of homelessness. 

Campbell Robb continued: “We’ve already seen a rise in demand for our services as more and more people struggle to keep up with their rent or mortgage. Sadly they’re discovering there is little left of the housing safety net that was once there to help them get back on their feet.” 

Rent and mortgage arrears can lead to homelessness but advice from Shelter can help people stay in their homes. Visit shelter.org.uk/housinghelp #housingadvice

Notes to editor
1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was for the 2012 survey was 4060 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th November - 3rd December 2012. Total sample size for the 2011 survey was 4014 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd - 5th December 2011. The surveys were carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
2. Of survey respondents who pay rent or mortgage, 4% said they are falling behind with payments.  This is equivalent to 1.4million adults.
3. 20% of those surveyed who pay rent or mortgage said they were constantly struggling to pay their rent or mortgage, equivalent to 7.8 million adults and a 44% increase since last December 2011.
4. 57% of Britons who pay rent or mortgage are struggling from time to time or constantly struggling to make their payments. That is equivalent to 22.3million adults
5. 2.1% of respondents said they had used a payday loan in the last 12 months to help pay their rent or mortgage.  This is equivalent to 978,969 British adults.
6. Of Britons who pay rent or mortgage 2.5% have used a payday loan in the last 12 months to help pay their rent or mortgage.  This is equivalent to 979,000 British adults. 7% (2.8 million) have used an unauthorised overdraft in the last 12 months to help pay their rent or mortgage, and of those 10% have done so every month.
7. The estimates of numbers of people affected have been calculated by Shelter.  These estimates are based on 2010 population estimates from the Office of National Statistics which indicate that there are 47.8 million adults in Great Britain. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-231847 (open file named “mid-2010-unformatted-data-file”).  The survey found that 82 per cent of adults in GB pay mortgage or rent, equivalent to 39 million adults.  Estimates have been rounded.

 

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