by Sarah Ashcroft

The number of people in the UK who are in rent arrears with their landlord has rocketed in the last few years.

New figures from National Debtline show that there has been a 150 per cent rise in this type of debt since 2007, while the last year alone has witnessed a 13 per cent increase in those falling behind with their rent.

Money Advice Trust has published a guide to dealing with rental payments, noting these arrears are now the fastest growing debt problem in the UK.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said that there is now a clear trend of rising rent prices and the impact of this on many people is severe.

She explained that housing costs are undoubtedly the most important bill of all, so to see so many people falling behind with these is a concern. It’s also indicative of how the cost of living has risen in recent years and has hit many families in the pocket.

“The risks of falling behind on rent payments are stark and it is vital anyone concerned about their ability to pay the rent seeks free, impartial advice as soon as possible. Advice is available online through My Money Steps, over the phone at National Debtline, or face to face at your local Citizens Advice Bureau,” Ms Elson stated.

National Debtline’s top five tips for people who are struggling to pay their rent each month include not burying their head in the sand, working out a personal budget and making rent a priority debt.

Such results should also be a consideration for landlords, who might now be wise to intensify their tenant checks on a person’s financial situation prior to offering them a tenancy.

Being confident that a tenant has the ability to pay their rent each month must be a priority for all landlords, as failure to do so can make it difficult for them to pay their own bills.

Published on: December 18, 2013