Fifteen housing associations in north west England have seen rent arrears rise by £1.7m over the last year.
Data collected from social landlords in Merseyside, have found that arrears had risen from £21.1m at the end of December 2012 to £22.9m at the end of December 2013.
Eight landlords in the survey said they had helped their tenants gain access to £9.1m in benefits which they previously had not been claiming in the 2013/14 financial year, reports Inside Housing.
Lynn Bundu, assistant director of neighbourhood services at Liverpool Housing Trust, said: “We know that people are struggling with the aftermath of Christmas, rising gas and electricity prices and, in thousands of cases, the impact of the government’s unfair bedroom tax. When debt starts to pile up, whether it’s rent arrears or people falling behind with other bills, it can be frightening. We know it can be tempting to try to ignore it. But we are here to offer support and advice.”
Ian Thomson, executive director of customer excellence at Knowsley Housing Trust, said: “The latest figures about rental debt highlight the long term impact that the government’s bedroom tax is having on communities and families in Merseyside. It is also important to recognise the long-term impacts on the public purse that ill-health is having on residents, caused by the stress of being in debt or not being able to pay rent for the first time due to the bedroom tax.”
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