Rent arrears advice demand rockets

Family debt

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has said changes to the welfare system have led to people facing worries around paying their rent

18th October 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A charity has seen demand for advice on rent arrears almost double over the last five years.

Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) blamed changes to the social security system for a 47% rise in the number of people facing problems paying their rent.

The Our Rent Arrears - Causes and Consequences report found the growth in rent arrears advice coincided closely with changes to the social security system, and almost a quarter of those living in rented accommodation have experienced rent arrears in last five years.

CAS reported that clients with rent arrears are more likely to be in part-time employment or unemployed, and are more likely to be single person or a lone parent, aged between 25 and 44, and to live in the 20% most deprived areas.

It also discovered that the most common reasons for rent arrears were a benefits issue, loss of income or unexpected costs.

CAS spokesman Rob Gowans said: "The rise in rent arrears is one of the most worrying trends we see across the CAB network at the moment.

"While there are a number of factors driving this, we have no doubt that the flaws in Universal Credit are one of the main ones.

"For the past 18 months we have been calling for a halt and fix to Universal Credit. Some welcome changes have been made but many of the problems still remain and this report shows the impact these are having on peoples' lives."

The charity has recommended that issues around Universal Credit are addressed, that rent levels be made more affordable and that tenants should receive better protection when they face potential eviction.