The results of the poll – reported here – make worrying reading as 1 in 12 tenants and 1 in 14 home-owners suggest that they may be prepared to go into arrears with their housing costs to meet the short term costs associated with the annual festive blow-out.
Of course, the immediate post-Christmas period, when the credit card bills and over-spending tend to catch up with us all, has traditionally been a busy one anyway for Advice Agencies. The cold, harsh weather of January and February is often mirrored by the financial hangovers that linger long after the Christmas and New Year sore heads have eased.
The impact of the continuing economic downturn and the ever-rising cost of basics such as food and fuel has placed even more pressure than normal on households to stretch beyond their means.
Delaying payment of mortgage or rent commitments may seem like an easy way to see us through the holiday period, when the messages of consumption and festivity remain undiminished by the hard realities of many family budgets. However, given the general pressures on those budgets, catching up with those missed payments may not be quite so easy – and the consequences of an uncontrolled spiral into housing debt can be traumatic.
CHAI would advise that the temptation to skip a mortgage or rent payment for the sake of that extra present is one that is best avoided. For those – and there will be many – for whom the choices are perhaps even more stark at this time of year, it is important to remember that help is always available to deal with money and/or housing worries.
CHAI’s Advice Service can be contacted on 0131 453 6410 or through the CHAI website.
If you are worried about mortgage or rent arrears, you can contact the Edinburgh Housing Advice Partnership (EHAP) on 0845 302 4607 or through the EHAP website.
Have a good, safe Christmas.