William Eichler 08 September 2017

Quarter of a million private renting families burdened with ‘debt’, charity finds

Quarter of a million private renting families burdened with ‘debt’, charity finds image

Around 250,000 private renting families in England are burdened with ‘serious debt’ because they have to move house frequently, a housing charity has warned.

New research from Shelter has revealed private renting is so unstable, short and expensive that families are being forced to move frequently.

On average, the research discovered, each family has to pay out more than £1,400 in move costs for things like removal vans, paying rent on two properties, cleaning costs and having to buy new furniture.

These costs are forcing families to take on debt, which makes them vulnerable to changes in the economy, such as an increase in inflation.

Shelter found one in four (255,944) renting families are taking on bank debts such as credit cards and overdrafts, and sometimes even payday loans, to cover the cost of constant house moving.

The charity also found that 44% of renting families worry about losing their home.

‘It’s heart breaking that families are being forced into unaffordable debt just to cover all the costs of moving house so frequently, thanks to short unstable contracts,’ said Polly Neate, Shelter chief executive.

‘We speak to parents every day who want nothing more than to have control over their lives, and provide stability – both financially and in a settled home – for their children, but instead are constantly forced into packing up and moving on.

‘The Government can change all this by updating laws to offer renters longer and more stable contracts, giving them and their children a secure place to call home and a brighter future.’

Shelter is calling on the government to introduce five year tenancies as standard which would help renters clear their debt and give millions of families more security.

The Brownfield Land Release Fund image

The Brownfield Land Release Fund

To what extent does this early initiative of the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities deliver on the ‘levelling up’ agenda? Lawrence Turner reports.
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