A debt charity is flooded with calls from tenants who are struggling to pay their rent each month.
National Debtline has seen the number of calls from tenants with rent arrears soar by 84 per cent since the credit crunch started in 2007.
At the same time, more renters are moving in to buy to lets and social housing because they can no longer raise the deposit needed to buy a home of their own.
Their financial difficulties are compounded by rising rents and an increasing cost of living.
Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, which runs National Debtline, said: “It is clear high rent costs are becoming more and more difficult for people to meet. A few years ago many people in today’s rent market would be planning on buying their first home, but now it seems they are struggling to even pay the rent.
“The chances of these renters being able to save the many thousands needed for a deposit are very slim indeed, which will only increase the demand for rental properties and lengthen the spiral into higher and higher rent costs.
“On top of those people who call National Debtline with specific problems in affording the rent, there will be even more who are cutting back sharply elsewhere to make sure they can cover rent payments. This in turn can lead to other debt problems, with credit cards, overdrafts and loans being relied upon to pay for food and other essentials.”
Landlords with tenants in rent arrears need to take steps to possess their property as soon as they can.
In many cases buy to let landlords end up offering unofficial social housing as councils advise tenants not to move out because if they do, they become intentionally homeless and the local authority will not rehouse them.
One important step for landlords is requesting the tenant signs over any housing benefit paid by the council directly to them to minimise the arrears.