Rent and Mortgage Increases Affecting Low Income Muslims the Most

Muslim households with lower incomes disproportionately face bigger price hikes than others.

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Muslim households with lower incomes disproportionately face bigger price hikes than others.

A survey by Muslim Census shows the UK’s poorest Muslim communities are hardest hit by the rising cost of housing. Those on the lowest incomes and those getting housing benefits reported huge rises in cost of living challenges compared to the more well-off.

The survey revealed that 56% of Muslims have seen an increase in their rent or mortgage payments. As a result, 1 in 2 Muslims have missed or have been late on their rent or mortgage payments since August 2021.

The Muslim Census survey revealed that 61% of Muslims with a household income of £20,001-£30,000 reported price increases, as opposed to 45% of those with a household income of £100,000. Similarly, 73% of Muslims who receive housing benefits experienced a price increase, in contrast to 53% of Muslims who receive no government welfare benefits.

The National Zakat Foundation (NZF) provides financial help to Muslims in need across the UK and has seen a doubling of applications in the past year. They distribute more than £6 million in cash annually to individuals and families needing help.

Dr Sohail Hanif, CEO of NZF says, “With rent and mortgage increases affecting households across the country, the rising costs are impacting many UK Muslims. In 2022, 1,663 applications for the housing fund were applied for through NZF, showing there is an immediate need for housing support in the Muslim community.”

Under the NZF housing fund, Muslims can apply for money to pay for:

  • Rent and deposit – to move into an affordable and secure home.
  • Rent Arrears – rent owed on your current home.
  • Council Tax Arrears – council tax debts.
  • Household items – essential items for your new home.

Private renters are facing an increase in their housing costs, with rental price growth at its highest rate in the UK since records began in 2016, with private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK rising by 4% in the 12 months to November 2022 according to data from the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices.

The foundation reports that a large number of Muslims are being evicted from rental properties as they are unable to pay their rent on time. But not enough support is offered by the government to support with these rental increases. As a result, many Muslims are turning to organisations such as NZF.

Hanif comments, “A safe place to live is a basic necessity, and a worrying number of Muslims don’t have that or are at risk of losing this. Lower-income Muslims struggle to pay for the basics given the recent cost increases, such as bills and food, so how are they expected to pay for rent increases on top of this? It’s a vicious cycle which is putting many into debt.”

The National Census shows that London also had the highest proportion of households renting privately at 30% or are in the social rented sector (23.1%), and London has the largest Muslim population.

Hanif comments, “Unsurprisingly, given both statistics from the Muslim Census survey and the National Census, we get the most housing fund applications from Muslims in London, making up almost 30% of all applications.”

On the other hand, the National Census shows that the Southwest had one of the lowest proportions of households that rented privately (19.8%) or were in the social rented sector (13.3%), and we only received 24 housing fund applications from the South West in 2022.”

Lower-income Muslims are less likely to have owned accommodations. However, Muslims who do are still disproportionately affected due to Islamic mortgages, as the Muslim Census survey revealed that 65% have reported being late with payments as opposed to 33% of Muslims with a conventional mortgage. More dramatically, those with an Islamic mortgage reported always being late at a rate five times higher than those with a standard mortgage.

With the property market tough for so many Muslims in the UK, NZF encourages any Muslims struggling to reach out to support services.