One in three ‘rent burdened Brits’ borrow to cover home costs

One in three low-earning renters in Britain have had to borrow money to cover their rent according to new research released today, as housing charity Shelter calls for the next government to step in and help ‘rent burdened Brits’.

Shocking new figures from Shelter and YouGov show people are being driven into debt to keep on top of their rent, with over half a million low-earning renters borrowing from credit cards, overdrafts or friends and family in the last year alone.

And huge numbers of low-earning private renters are only just managing to keep a roof over their heads, with a staggering 70 per cent either struggling with or falling behind on rent.

With private rents eating up so much of their income, 800,000 hard-pressed private renters are not even able to save £10 a month according to a Shelter analysis of government statistics.

With a general election just around the corner, the charity is calling for a new generation of living rent homes for ordinary working families, and urging the next government to invest in half a million of these over the course of the next parliament.

Anne Baxendale, director of communications, policy and campaigns at Shelter, said:

“It just isn’t right that so many hard-working private renters are having to take on desperate or dangerous debts just to keep a roof over their heads.

“No family should have to choose between relying on their credit card to keep up with the rent or moving miles away from their jobs and schools to find a home they can actually afford.

“Right now there’s nowhere for these people to turn but it doesn’t have to be this way. The next government must commit to building half a million new living rent homes to genuinely help ordinary families to get by and give them a firmer foundation for the future.”

Case study
Tracy, and her two sons rent privately in London. A yoga teacher and single mum, Tracy constantly has to borrow money from her Mum to cover the rent.

“Desperate for somewhere to live after our last tenancy ended, and with hardly any options, I took this place knowing that it would be a struggle and I would have to rely on borrowing money from my mum in order to keep up with the rent. Even though she can afford it, it feels awful to be borrowing money from her, especially since she’s retired.”

“My eldest son is seven now, but he’s had six addresses in his short life. He misses our old home, and the one before that. We sometimes drive by our old houses and reminisce on what we once had: more space, a bigger garden, a better location. Each time we move it feels like we’re paying more for less.”

“I don’t know when we’ll ever break this cycle of rent and debt. I certainly don’t want my boys to grow up like this, but right now we have no other choice, and that is a really depressing thought.”