Homeowners Struggling To Meet Maintenance Costs

By: Steve Smith

Many Britons are forced to rely on credit and loans to meet the costs of basic areas of household maintenance, a new study from Alliance & Leicester has found.

According to statistics released by the group, around one in six people (16 per cent) of people have to rely on credit cards or other types of borrowing in order to pay for household emergencies such as replacing a broken washing machine or boiler. Furthermore, nearly half (45 per cent) of all respondents said they would not be able to spend more than 500 pounds from their own pocket to fix such household crises.

Meanwhile, five per cent of respondents claimed they would turn to relatives as a first port of call if they found themselves facing home repair costs. For an estimated 900,000 people, selling personal effects would be the easiest way to raise the cash necessary to replace or repair essential items. For those who are loath to part with TVs, stereos, PCs and other possessions, taking out a personal loan may be a less painful way to purchase new mod cons for the home.

Choosing such a loan may prove a prudent choice for the eight per cent of respondents who admitted they did not know how they would cover the costs of domestic catastrophes. Following the research, Alliance & Leicester indicate that many Britons may be feeling the pinch even further following from hikes in the cost of food, energy and petrol in recent months.

Indeed, 21 per cent of homeowners said they could not cover the cost of a household necessity over the value of 100 pounds. The group suggested that with the average call out for a plumber costing around this sum, many people may find themselves in financial hot water trying to keep their home functional even on a basic level.

Hetal Parmar, manager for savings at Alliance & Leicester, commented: "The reality of being a homeowner means that at some point you will inevitably have to pay out for repairs such as broken boilers and faulty appliances. We would encourage people to start saving sooner rather than later to avoid a basic household emergency becoming a financial headache. Compared to our research from 2005, people are beginning to build up their savings pots for repairs around the home, but there is still a long way to go."

She added that despite the soaring costs of living, it is still important for people to consider putting money away for household emergencies, suggesting that by saving a small amount aside each month, consumers will soon find themselves in a more stable position if they are faced with a crisis.

For those who have been unable to meet the cost of home repairs, taking out a low rate loan may be an effective way to get things back on track. Such a loan may also be of use to the 1.7 million people identified in a recent Halifax study as living with an unfinished DIY project.

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