High rents forcing thousands into debt
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by Gill Montia
Thousands of tenants are being forced into debt by high rents and the financial squeeze, according to new figures from the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).
More than 10,000 people contacted the charity for help with rent arrears in 2011, an increase of 27% over 2010.
On average, they were £760 behind with the rent and £82 short of the amount needed to cover living expenses each month.
Renters in arrears to private landlords were in the worst position, owing £924 on average and having a monthly budget deficit of £145.
Tenants in arrears to housing associations were an average £705 behind, while the average for local authority tenants stood at £622.
CCCS figures also show that rents are rising at a time of stagnating incomes, with the average rent paid by people contacting the charity rising by 2.4% in 2011, to £408 per month.
Meanwhile, the amount of money left over after meeting basic living expenses shrank from £58 to just £35.
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