Payday loans used to cover housing costs

The Momentum UK Team 15 January 2014

Hundreds of thousands of people may have taken out a payday loan to cover the cost of their rent or mortgage, according to a new study.

The research, carried out for housing charity Shelter, indicates that many people are struggling to meet their basic living costs, despite the recent signs of economic recovery.

Of the 3,675 renters and mortgage payers surveyed, 2% had taken out short term, high interest loans in the year to November. Overall, 19% had borrowed money - other than their mortgage - including borrowing on credit cards.

The report also highlights some of the other methods people are turning to when struggling to cover housing costs. These included unauthorised overdrafts and other loans, as well as borrowing from friends or family members. For many, the latter is not an option for a variety of reasons, often including embarrassment. Around a quarter of people said they would be too ashamed to ask for help when struggling with their rent or mortgage, with two fifths saying that they wouldn’t admit their problems to family and friends.

Shelter said that they dealt with just under 9,000 helpline calls from people struggling with rent or mortgage payments last year - a third more than the year before. Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said:

“Sky-high housing costs, stagnating wages and the high cost of living have taken their toll.

“The economy as a whole might be on the up, but losing our home could now be a frighteningly real prospect for any one of us.

“We're now hearing from record numbers of families up and down the country who are desperately struggling to keep the roof over their heads. But the truth is, we're more worried about the people we don't see.

“Our message today is don't keep your worries to yourself.”