The proportion of low-income tenants reaching out for urgent advice and support over rent arrears has almost trebled under the Tories, according to a damning report from a leading debt advice charity.

Research by the debt advice charity Money Advice Trust reveals that the number of people calling their helpline over rent arrears has soared from just 6% in 2008 to reach 17% in 2018 so far.

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It is reported that average rent arrears have increased since the start of the economic downturn from £1,022 to reach £1,345 today, as the UK Government face fresh calls to do more to support people with housing-related debts.

The Money Advice Service are now calling on the UK Government and housing sector, among others, “to work together to support people with housing-related debts”, including those facing rent arrears due to Universal Credit payment delays.

Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: “We believe more can be done to support both renters and mortgage-payers in debt who are faced with a range of challenges.

“We are calling on the government, regulators, and the housing and advice sectors to work together to support people with housing-related debts.”

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She added: “This includes more proactive support for tenants at risk of falling into arrears and for tenants to have the right to request the direct payments housing part of Universal Credit to be paid directly to their landlord rather than waiting for arrears to accrue.

“We look forward to working with stakeholders in this area to take forward the findings in our report.”

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