Two-year high for rent arrears

The number of tenants owing more than two months’ rental payments due now totals 74,000, according to data compiled by market professionals.

The figures, which shed light on market conditions faced by tenants and landlords alike, show a jump of 5,000 compared to 12 months ago and amount to a two-year high. Of the additional 5,000, more than half – 3,100 – emerged during the second quarter.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains which compiled the numbers, said: “Across the UK, most households are beginning to earn more and it is this majority of tenants who are able to bid up the price of rented homes in the face of constricted supply.

“Rents are accelerating in response – rising by more than five per cent over the last year, according to our separate research.

“But behind this headline buoyancy, there is a less positive story. For a small minority there has been no transformational boost to household earnings and it is this more marginal population of tenants who are feeling the squeeze of rising rents most sharply.”

Mark Harris, a solicitor at Palmers and member of its Residential Landlords team, said: “These numbers highlight multiple issues.

“On the one hand, there is the plight of in-debt tenants who, fearing eviction, may be unsure of both their own and landlord’s grounds. The current position is not a case of mere privatisation of the old post-war public/social housing schemes operated by local authorities but a new class of business that is subject to the law of supply and demand.

“Out-of-pocket landlords will wish to seek legal advice to ensure they comply with the ever increasing regulation of their activities by the government.

“Perhaps landlords are already thinking about releasing their portfolio, especially in the wake of news about a loss of tax reliefs. They could even be wondering about acquiring additional property to address demand, notwithstanding the recent announcement of increased stamp duty on buy-to-let properties.

“Whatever the circumstance, it is best to seek the view of those who understand the property field and its many legal requirements. For information about the ways we can help, please contact us.”