Unpaid rent and property damage costs landlords £5.4bn every year

Landlords in the UK are out of pocket to the tune of over £5bn every year because of damage to property and unpaid rent.

Tenants’ rent arrears account for around £900million in costs annually, while damage to landlords’ property sees them fork out an incredible £4.5billion.

Damage limitation

The survey, conducted by Access Legal, revealed that broken appliances are one of the biggest problems when it comes to property damage.

Damage to carpets and decorating is also prevalent, while cigarette burns remain an issue – despite many rental properties not allowing smoking inside. Over a third of the landlords surveyed also stated lack of cleanliness as a common concern.

When quizzed on which area of the country tenants were likely to cause most damage, inevitably, the big cities cropped up.

Manchester and London were voted the two worst, with Birmingham also in the top five. However, Wrexham and Chelmsford trumped many major cities as two of the worst areas to rent out a property if you’re looking to avoid damage.

Time to pay

Late payment is a common issue for small business owners and landlords alike. Out of pocket buy-to-let owners in the UK pay almost a billion pounds out yearly – figures that can leave landlords frustrated.

A staggering 40 per cent of landlords have been subject to a tenant not paying rent, and with results showing that 46 per cent of tenants who didn’t pay won’t have to pay it back, it is perhaps understandable that tensions can be high in the rental market.

The survey also raised some surprising results when highlighting the areas that are commonly worse for tenants’ rental arrears.

Largely affluent Cambridge, Oxford and York can all be found in the top five worst areas for rent arrears, with big cities Newcastle and Manchester completing the top five.

What’s in store?

The results of the survey paint something of a grim picture for UK landlords, and indeed one in five believe the buy-to-let market will crash within the next few years.

And those fears are backed up by the statistic that one in five landlords will be out of business due to the recent government tax break changes.

However, the landscape isn’t entirely bad. There’s been a 40 per cent increase in landlords owning more than one property in the last five years; one in five owns four properties, while 10 per cent own five properties.

Do landlords need more protection from troublesome tenants? Let us know in the comments below!

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