'Stream of cases' of people unable to pay rent
Published on 03 January 2014 02:00 PM
Housing charity, Shelter, has warned that many people will spend January worrying how to keep a roof over their heads.
A YouGov survey of more than 4,000 people found that 1 in 11 (9%) will be plagued by worries over their mortgage or rent payments this month.
Nearly 4 in 10 people (38%) believe they will have difficulties keeping up with their rent or mortgage over the next 12 months, the research revealed.
Almost two-thirds (63%) are already finding it hard to pay their rent or mortgage every month or have already fallen behind, with the number slightly higher among households with children (70%).
It can be difficult to face up to financial problems
Shelter added that it saw a worrying 'ostrich effect' among its clients, with people being unable to face up to their financial situation.
Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) of those polled said they had not opened letters when they thought they could be a bill or payment reminder, and one in seven (14%) said they put mail in the bin without opening it.
Liz Clare, a helpline adviser at Shelter, said the charity - which helps around three million people every year - was seeing a stream of cases of people who are unable to cope with mounting rent or mortgage bills and feel at breaking point.
She added: 'We all know how difficult it can be to face up to financial problems and we often hear from people who've been avoiding urgent post, but the reality is that not confronting it means things can spiral out of control.
Some families could face losing their home
'One caller to the helpline arrived home to her rented flat to find the locks had been changed. She hadn't realised that a court hearing had even taken place because she hadn't felt able to open her post after falling into arrears with her rent.'
Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said that high housing costs, wage freezes, and an increase in the cost of food and energy have led to a 'nightmare scenario' for many people, even though the economy is on its way to recovery.
He said: 'It's a worrying sign of the times that so many of us are starting the new year worried about how they'll pay their rent or mortgage in 2014.
'Unless they get help, some of the families struggling now could face the very real prospect of losing their home this year.'
Copyright Press Association 2014