Fears people cannot pay rent or mortgage this month


Staff reporter (Chester First)

RESEARCH by a national charity has revealed one in 10 people in the North West won’t be able to afford to pay the rent or mortgaFeage at the end of January.

Housing charity Shelter has released the figures, based on a YouGov survey of more than 4,000 British adults, which suggest millions of people across the country are starting 2014 worried about if they will be able to keep their home.

The shocking findings reveal a worrying trend of people across the region unable to face up to their financial difficulties, with 26 per cent in the North West saying they have not opened post if they thought it was a bill or late payment reminder.

An alarming 19 per cent of people in the North West even admitted to putting it in the bin without opening it.

With about 39 per cent of people in the region expecting to struggle or fall behind with their rent or mortgage in 2014, the charity is urging people worried about their housing costs to seek help.

Liz Clare, a helpline adviser at Shelter, said: “We’re now seeing a stream of cases of families who’ve been unable to cope with mounting rent or mortgage bills and feel at breaking point.

“We all know how difficult it can be to face up to financial problems and we often hear from people who’ve been avoiding urgent post, but the reality is that not confronting it means things can spiral out of control. One caller to the helpline arrived home to her rented flat to find the locks had been changed.

“She hadn’t realised a court hearing had even taken place because she hadn’t felt able to open her post after falling into arrears with her rent.

“We hear from people every day who are struggling, so you are not alone.

“Our message to anyone struggling to pay their rent or mortgage is we’re on your side. Come to us for help early on for the best chance of keeping your home.”

Across the country research found families are currently struggling the most, with 70 per cent of rent or mortgage payers with children struggling or falling behind with their payments, compared to 63 per cent of the general population of rent or mortgage payers.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s a worrying sign of the times so many of us are starting the New Year worried about how they’ll pay their rent or mortgage in 2014. Unless they get help, some of the families struggling now could face the very real prospect of losing their home this year.”

Shelter advises rent or mortgage payments should always be the top priority over other bills to prevent people from losing their homes.

For advice and top tips to avoid rent or mortgage arrears visit shelter.org.uk/advice.

See full story in the Chester Leader

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