The Consumer Credit Counselling Service has reported an increase in the number of people in rented accommodation contacting them for debt counselling. They believe that tenants are the people who have been hit hardest by the economic downturn because rents are at such high levels. The number of tenants in arrears who contacted CCCS in 2011 was 10,246 – a 30% increase in three years. People renting in the private sector seem to be in the most serious trouble. On average they owed £924 in unpaid rent compared to £705 for tenants in arrears to housing associations and £622 for tenants in local authority accommodation. This will be worrying for our landlord insurance clients.

As a whole, the CCCS believes that households are working hard to reduce their spending and debts but this has been made very difficult by falling real incomes and the high cost of living. Their research is based on the 370,000 people who contacted the charity for assistance in 2011. On average their clients owed £20,023 in unsecured debt and had monthly living costs of £1,369.

CCCS is particularly concerned about youth unemployment – 42% of their clients under the age of 25 were unemployed. CCCS aims to help what it calls the “can’t pays, not the won’t pays”. The advice it offers is free of charge to its clients.