Rent arrears advice rises by 332% | Housing Finance Network news

Rent arrears advice rises by 332%

Citizens Advice is warning it has seen a huge surge in private renters worried about arrears, with the end to the ban on evictions looming.

The charity believes many renters will need financial support to pay back these debts or risk losing their homes.

New figures show the level of concern among private renters about rent arrears has rocketed in 2020. Page views of the Citizens Advice web page on ‘Dealing with rent arrears’ increased fourfold (332%) year on year.

People looking for advice on help they can get with possible homelessness has also increased (139%), despite the temporary ban on repossession action.

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The dramatic jump in the need for advice on rent arrears should be a warning sign for the government that many people are deeply worried about the possibility of losing their home.

“Renters have been particularly vulnerable to the economic effects of Covid-19, yet protections for them run out sooner than many of the other measures to help people struggling, including those for mortgage payers.

“Many renters won’t be in a position to repay arrears built up due to coronavirus. Without help, they risk losing the roof over their head through no fault of their own.”

Amy Hughes, Housing Expert at Citizens Advice, said: "The restarting of eviction proceedings will be very worrying for those tenants still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on their finances. 

“There may be a number of ways an eviction notice can be challenged, and anybody served such a notice should get advice about whether it is valid and whether they may be able to stop or delay their eviction.”

“Fortunately there are a range of organisations which can help, including Citizens Advice, but also other housing and debt charities.”