Serious rent arrears increase for landlords

Buy to let landlords have had more tenants struggling with serious rent arrears in the past three months, according to a new report from a rent debt firm.

Tenants with rent late by two months or more jumped 5% from 90,000 to 94,000 in the first quarter of this year.

The rise follows a 14.5% drop in serious rent arrears in the previous quarter.

The increase in the number of tenants in debt comes when rising buy to let rents have dropped back – going up just above the rate of inflation for the year by 3.3%.

The rent picture underlines Chancellor George Osborne’s efforts to stimulate the housing market in Budget 2013 by announcing measures to help first time buyers and renters purchase their own homes with loans guaranteed by the government.

The figures come from Templeton LPA, a firm which manages repossessed buy to let properties for lenders, who noted that the quarterly increase was the fourth highest on record, at 10% below the peak in the third quarter of last year.

Taking a longer term view of the figures showed the number of tenants in difficulties over paying their rents fell 2.9% over the last 12 months.

The amount of rent missed or paid late as a proportion of all rents did fall last month – from 10% in December to 7.4.

Paul Jardine, director at Templeton LPA, said: “Household finances are feeling the impact of spiralling costs, particularly energy bills, which were recently predicted to grow by an average £214 this year.

“Many tenants have finally pulled their finances back together after the strain of the festive period. But for a significant minority the situation is actually much worse than three months ago, and this is reflected in the most severe tenant arrears.”


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