East: 1 in 7 Struggling with Rent or Mortgage

4 January 2013, 06:00

New research from the housing charity Shelter says 1 in 7 rent or mortgage payers in the East of England are constantly struggling to keep up with their payments.

The research conducted by YouGov and Shelter survey showed that 15% of rent or mortgage payers in December 2012 in the East of England are constantly struggling to keep up. That means over half a million people across the region are starting the New Year facing a monthly battle to keep a roof over their heads.

Nationally the survey found that 7.8 million Brits are constantly struggling to pay their rent or mortgage.

Shelter is urging anyone struggling with their housing costs to seek advice early to avoid putting their home at risk.

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.

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

“Short-term credit may seem like a quick fix. However with the huge interest charges, things can quickly spiral out of control, leaving people with vast debts they simply can’t pay back. 

“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 people at risk of homelessness get back on their feet.”