THE Housing Executive has revealed almost a third of their tenants are in rent arrears.
The public housing body says that 25,000 of its 88,000 tenants owe it rent currently.
The average debt per household is just under £500.
And the HE said it was also concerned by the increasing numbers of tenants relying on pay-day loans and doorstep ‘money lenders’ or loan sharks to pay their rent.
John McPeake, chief executive of the Housing Association, said around 5,000 tenants in Northern Ireland relied on pay-day loans to pay their rent.
Mr McPeake said: “Many social tenants in Northern Ireland are elderly, disabled or without work and indeed four tenant households out of five have nobody in paid employment.
“Those people on the economic margins can’t access the routine finance that others may be able to often feel they have no alternative but to turn to pay-day lenders or other doorstep lenders.”
Mr McPeake also raised concerns about unregulated money lending taking place in some estates.
“We believe roughly 5,000 of our tenants rely on pay-day lenders to pay their rent but beyond that, we have a particular problem here of unregulated door-step lenders who are coming along, often, it is alleged, connected to a criminal fraternity and they are putting tenants under extreme duress,” he said.