Homelessness warning as rent arrears surge 13 per cent

The Citizen's Advice Bureau has warned the threat of homelessness is on the rise as cases of social housing rent arrears reported from July to September this year increased by 13 per cent.

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Britain 'on edge of a serious housing crisis'

The Citizens Advice Bureau has warned that the UK is "on the edge of a serious housing crisis" after releasing data on the increase in cases it has dealt with relating to rent arrears and threatened homelessness.

There are simply not enough homes to meet need and the result is yet more pressure on household budgets.

...The emerging trend of increasing social housing arrears is extremely worrying.

Cases of arrears are up across every region of England, with the Midlands and parts of the North showing the starkest deterioration.

Prices which far outstrip incomes and the damaging impact of high food and energy bills make paying rent simply impossible for many people.

– Gillian Guy, Citizens Advice Bureau Chief Executive,

The charity said that the impact of welfare reform is "crucial" and said that recent reforms that have been "rushed in without a proper safety net in place".

Figures on increase in social housing rent arrears

In the second quarter of this year, Citizens Advice Bureau gave advice on:

  • 22,412 issues about social housing rent arrears - a 13 per cent increase on the same period last year
  • 2,840 issues about possessions claims due to rent arrears in the social housing sector - a 38 per cent increase on the same period last year
  • 2,736 issues about threatened homelessness in social housing - a 12 per cent increase on the same period last year
  • 3,307 issues about Discretionary Housing Payments - a 110 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Of all the charity's clients advised about debt issues:

  • 45 per cent are social tenants
  • 31 per cent are private tenants
  • 20 per cent are buying their home
  • 5 per cent own their home outright.

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Homelessness threat 'rising for social tenants'

Social housing tenants are facing an increased threat of homelessness, the Citizen's Advice Bureau has warned, after cases of rent arrears cases reported to the charity rose 13 per cent from July to September this year.

Social housing rent arrears cases reported from July to September increased by 13 per cent since the same period last year. Credit: PA

Citizens Advice warned that despite growing confidence in the UK's economic recovery, households are not yet feeling the benefit of the improved economic outlook.

It suggested that the impact of the Under-Occupancy Penalty, combined with changes to Council Tax support, has contributed heavily to rent arrears problems

Instances of Citizens Advice Bureaux advising clients about Discretionary Housing Payments, to help people pay their rent, have more than doubled in the six months since April this year when the charge for under-occupancy was introduced.

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