FAMILES can apply for help to pay their rent if they are struggling as the average monthly bill jumps to £1,060.
It's not just budding buyers who are being priced out of the housing market as demand soars – renters are seeing rates rise too.
As property prices increase, more Brits are putting their housebuying plans on hold until the market cools – and looking to stick to renting instead.
It's meant that demand for homes for rent has surged "in many areas" of the UK, according to data from HomeLet Rental Index.
Households were paying an average monthly rate of £1,060 a month in December, up from £972 a year ago.
HomeLet chief executive officer Andy Halstead said that he expects this bill to rise even further.
"In 2022 we’d expect to see rental values grow in line with wages and inflation, but increased demand and pressures on housing stock could see us reach record growth in 2022," he said.
It's yet another blow to millions of families who are already feeling the pinch as the ongoing cost of living crisis heats up.
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Nearly half a million families have fallen behind on paying their rent, with the average amount owed standing at £1,270.
And a Sun investigation found that families are struggling with other housing costs, with Brits owing a whopping £87.2million worth of council tax over the 2020/21 financial year.
That's on top of eye-watering hikes to energy bills, food prices and fuel costs.
How to get help with your rent
If you're worried about making your money stretch until the next pay day, there are ways to get help with your rent – we explain below.
Cash from your council
To help hard-up families, the government announced £65million of extra funding for those in arrears last year.
You can apply to your local council for it, and the cash is available to dish out through the winter months – you can find who your local authority is by using the gov.uk's website.
If you're eligible for the help, it is likely the council will pay the money you've been granted directly to your landlord.
Welfare Assistance scheme
Many local councils will dish out free cash, food vouchers, and help for bills to struggling families under the Welfare Assistance scheme.
Some local authorities may offer to put money towards paying your rent.
For example, East Riding of Yorkshire is handing out up to £1,000 in free cash for families to put towards this bill.
However, a Sun investigation found that the help you can get under the scheme is a postcode lottery.
But for those with a scheme in place, a spike in grants happened over the Covid crisis, with councils handing out grants soaring by 210% in some places.
Household Support Fund
Another scheme you could tap into via your local council is the Household Support Fund.
It is a £500million government programme – and councils get a slice of the funding to dish out to hard-up families in their catchment area.
Some councils are offering free cash under the scheme – which you could use to put towards your housing costs.
For example, Shropshire Council is offering £115 in free cash, with Birmingham Council offering up to £200 to families.
Discretionary Housing Payment
If you're on Universal Credit, you can apply for a Discretionary Housing Payment to help with your rent.
The cash can also be used to cover housing costs like putting down a deposit, and advances you'll need for moving house.
There's no set amount you'll be given – help will be given out on a case-by-case basis.
But recent research showed some councils were offering up to £4,500 to families.
And in total, local authorities dished out a whopping £171million in Discretionary Housing Payments for the financial year ending March 2021 – up 30% the prior year at £132million.
Talk to your landlord
If you're worried you won't be able to cover your housing costs, you should talk to your landlord.
By being upfront at the start, you could be more likely to renegotiate a better rate while you get yourself back up and running.
You could also ask for an affordable repayment plan to pay back what you owe.
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