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"100% of my income goes on rent”

  • 22/05/2017

This article is over a year old

One in three couldn't pay rent if they missed just one pay cheque

Council estate building

Rents have increased month-on-month and year-on-year and aren’t expected to slow down anytime soon.

‘Affordable rent’ is supposed to be no more than 30% of your household income.

However, the average household now spends 42% of their income on rent; this rises to 72% in London.

The pressure high rents put on households is reaching a critical peak as many can simply no longer cover the rising costs of living.

Theresa Whittaker, who is on a zero-hours contract, said: “I struggle to pay rent and I cannot get help, so I live on nothing and it’s hard to do.”

Janet Bowden was one of a dozen people who got in touch with us to say they spend over half of their income on rent. She said: “Two thirds of my wages goes on rent. So much for affordable housing!”

Private rented sector

One of the causes of the current rent crisis is the influx of people living in the private rented sector.

Consequently, the number of people who live in privately rented accommodation who are classified as living in poverty has doubled in the last decade to 4.5 million.

Lesley Mcgilvary, who became disabled in 2014, said: “I am in private rented accommodation. There is not only a lack of social housing where I live but also a shortage of private rented housing.

“Due to Local Housing Allowance (LHA) benefit rates I have to top up my rent by £150 each month. I am trapped in a property I can’t really afford but have very limited options to move.”

High rents and retired people

The effect of high rents on those who have retired and no longer have the capacity to earn has been detrimental.

Colin Smith, who has retired, said: “My rent is £1,300 per calendar month. I receive £1,015 medical pension and £280 housing benefit. That’s 100% of my income that goes on rent.”

Hazel Wykes, a 64 year old pensioner, added: “Even though my rent is £50 a week and council tax is £8 a week I am really struggling. I don’t have much money left for food, I can’t afford to go out or buy clothing, shoes, dental, or opticians, I can’t afford holidays or day trips or any luxuries.

“I can’t even afford to meet up with friends for a coffee or lunch, and it is all so stressful, the lack of money to live on is making my mental health worse.”

Use Turn2us resources to find help

If the cost of renting is causing you financial hard ship, use our Benefits Calculator and our Grant Search.


The Guardian: Tenants in England Spend Half Their Pay on Rent

The Guardian: One in Three Families are a Month’s Pay From Losing Home, Says Study

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