Tenant arrears 'down by a third'

The number of tenants in serious rental arrears has fallen by a third over the past year.

The number of tenants in serious rental arrears has fallen by a third over the past year.

This is according to new figures from LSL Property Services, which found that some 68,000 households are seriously behind with rent payments, compared with a mid-2012 peak of over 116,000.

Meanwhile the number of landlords over three months in mortgage arrears fell for the fifth consecutive quarter, to their lowest level since 2008.

The number of tenants more than two months in arrears fell by 35 per cent over the year, despite an 11 per cent seasonal increase in cases of severe arrears between the final quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014.

Tenants in serious arrears now represent 1.4 per cent of all UK tenancies according to LSL, compared with 2.3 per cent one year ago – but there was no change in this figure from the final quarter of 2013.

Paul Jardine, director of Templeton LPA, the LSL subsidiary that compiled the figures, said: “Personal finances are finally defrosting across the UK, with many people experiencing the first real financial spring for half a decade. Tens of thousands of households are looking forward to a slightly more comfortable year in 2014, without the lurking anticipation of serious rental arrears.

“It’s true there remains a long way to go. Certainly, for any particular tenant still facing serious hardship, this won’t yet feel like an improvement. And the seasonal difficulties of the festive period and New Year have taken their usual toll.

“But a clear positive trend is emerging. With three successive quarters showing a sharp annual improvement in the number of such cases, the chance of tenants falling so far behind is receding.”