Debt charity: Tenants in arrears need more support

StepChange has called for tenants to be given more protection when they fall into arrears after it emerged that one in six relied on credit when desperate.

The charity thinks the government should reform housing benefit so it covers the real cost of rent, while tenants should have access to free support, debt advice, as well as affordable repayment plans.

Richard Lane, director of external affairs at StepChange, said: “Unless we see benefits that cover the real cost of renting, alongside strengthened rules that protect financially vulnerable tenants who fall behind on their rent, the cycle of debt and housing insecurity will be doomed to repeat itself for millions of people.”

The charity accused private landlord of claiming back arrears at an unaffordable rate.

Three in four (75%) private renters said either they or their family have suffered from stress in terms of poor health and wellbeing, thanks to housing issues.

Some 15% of private renters are in problem debt, compared to 8% of the general population, while the proportion has gotten worse – up from 11% in January.