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Record rent levels leaving more tenants at risk of problem debt, says StepChange

21 June 2023

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today published new figures revealing that median monthly rents in England have reached £825, the highest figures since records began. The average monthly median rent in London is now £1,500.

StepChange says rising rents across the country will have a significant impact on the ability of tenants to keep up with their financial commitments. StepChange’s own research, released last month, found that the number of private renters in problem debt (see notes to editors) rose sharply from 800,000 people (11% of private renters) in January to 1.1m people (15%) in May. With more interest rate rises set to further impact renters as landlords pass on their mortgage costs, StepChange is urging the Government to take action to protect financially vulnerable tenants from further difficulty and hardship. 

Richard Lane, StepChange Director of External Affairs, said:  

“The pressure millions of private renters are under just to keep a roof over their heads is reaching unsustainable levels. These sky-high rents, alongside soaring food prices and energy bills are fuelling problem debt and forcing more than 1m renters to borrow to make ends meet. With these pressures showing little sign of abating, many renters face a precarious future without targeted intervention. 

“The Government’s welcome move to ban no-fault evictions through the Renters’ Reform Bill should help renters feel more secure, but new grounds for possession introduced through the Bill run the risk of no-fault evictions reappearing under a new name. The Bill can and should do more to provide greater security and protect those on low incomes. We urgently need to see safety nets that cover the real cost of renting, alongside strengthened rules to help financially vulnerable tenants deal with rent arrears and stay in their homes.”

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