Landlords rejoice as serious rent arrears see a u-turn

Landlords rejoice as serious rent arrears see a u-turn

The latest data from Your Move and Reeds Rains has revealed that despite difficult winter period, 1,500 households have escaped serious rent build-ups in Q4, compared to Q3.

By the final quarter of 2015, a net 1,500 households have moved out of serious rent arrears, compared to Q3. This is a 1.5% quarter-on-quarter improvement, and reverses some of a deteriorating trend throughout the earlier parts of 2015. There are now 82,900 households behind on more than two months’ rent, down from 84,200 in Q3 2015.

While correcting an emerging upward trend, the latest quarterly improvement still represents a worsening on an annual basis. The number of tenants in serious rent arrears remains 19.5% higher than in Q4 2015.

However as a proportion of the entire market, the latest total still represents just 1.6% of tenancies across the UK private rented sector. This compares to a peak proportion of 2.9% of tenants in Q1 2008. The absolute number of tenants in serious arrears is also mild on a historical basis, considerably below the record 116,600 such cases seen in Q3 2012.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, comments: “Private renting is still absorbing thousands of extra households every month – housing millions more than just a few years ago. As this tenure of housing and this way of living grows, affordability is the issue that goes hand-in-hand with questions of capacity.

An individual tenant is still extremely unlikely to fall into serious rent arrears. In fact the proportion of renters getting seriously behind on payments has dropped considerably over the longer term. But absolute numbers are now going the right way too. With fewer people at risk from more serious consequences of struggling to pay the rent, this is great news.”


Eviction rates drop in response to healthier tenant finances

Meanwhile, in the same quarter of Q4 2015, there were a total of 26,676 court orders issued for the eviction of tenants, on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is down marginally by 0.4% compared to Q3, when seasonally adjusted eviction orders stood at 26,775. On an annual basis, downward progress for evictions is more considerable, with 5.3% fewer evictions than 28,167 a year before in Q4 2014. The latest figures for evictions represent 32% of the stock of tenants in severe arrears in Q4, meaning only around one-in-three such cases translate into evictions each quarter.

Landlord finances healthiest on record

Cases of landlords falling behind on their own financial commitments are also diminishing. As of Q4 2015 there were 5,500 examples of buy-to-let mortgage arrears, down by 3.5% from 5,700 in Q3, and a resumption of downward progress after the figure previously remained the same between Q2 and Q3 2015.
On an annual basis, progress for landlords’ finances has been far more considerable. The number of buy-to-let mortgages in arrears has dropped by 54% since standing at 11,900 cases in Q4 2014.

Adrian Gill concludes: “Landlords and the buy-to-let industry have come in for serious criticism over the last year – but the overwhelming evidence points to a vital, growing and successful industry. Landlords in the UK are providing more homes to let every month, expanding supply for tenants – who avoid any serious problems paying the rent in more than 98% of cases. When late rent does happen, landlords appear to be extremely flexible in the majority of cases, and eviction orders are decreasingly necessary. Buy-to-let mortgages are also increasingly reliable for lenders, as landlords are ever less likely to fall into arrears themselves.

It would be wrong to say that the UK private rented sector is perfect. But in the context of these facts, the demonization of landlords by some policy makers seems at best out of proportion.

Most urgently, rising rents are a signal that demand is there for even more homes to let. In a purchase market that increasingly favours sellers, demand from would-be first time buyers will continue to grow even faster for rented homes. Additional investment from landlords should be welcomed. Yet the government’s looming Stamp Duty surcharge – which explicitly punishes investment in new buy-to-let properties – could damage supply of additional homes to let and potentially disrupt the relative balance of the modern buy-to-let industry.”

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Latest Comments

MBM Homelets
MBM Homelets 23 Mar 2017

Although this is a very positive step, there is little or no guarantee of the standard of workmanship employed by the tenants. We have had experience of a professionally decorated property being ' painted'...

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ajay
ajay 21 Mar 2017

How is the "robust evidence" looking now?

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NathanG
NathanG 20 Mar 2017

I've been watching the series so far and am completely baffled by the cases that were presented. Though, I don't think that we can protect ourselves from every scam possible - it will just make the scammers...

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Landlady14
Landlady14 01 Mar 2017

You would think so Niraj Shah! My experience only proves that there are varying qualitiers of professional in all aspects of property letting. None of the ones I have dealt with, from letting agents to...

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Mark
Mark 01 Mar 2017

Thanks for this article. Hopefully one day everybody's lifestyle will be eco-sustainable.

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Ben Taylor
Ben Taylor 28 Feb 2017

I was convinced that London was the most expensive!

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Alan Read
Alan Read 28 Feb 2017

Australia are leading the way in this I think. The trouble with Britain is we don't get enough sun to make use of solar power.

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James Powell
James Powell 27 Feb 2017

This is a very good news.

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DanHumphreys
DanHumphreys 27 Feb 2017

It sounds like a good idea. Anything to help the younger generation get a foothold.

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Matt
Matt 20 Feb 2017

Is this fake news?

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Matthew Hollywood
Matthew Hollywood 07 Feb 2017

Matthew Hollywood - Director Mishon Mackay Land & New Homes - Brighton The shortage of New Homes is in part effected by the lack of land sales. Land sales are held back because there is a disparity between...

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CommercialTrust
CommercialTrust 30 Jan 2017

Hi Graham, Would be interesting to see the above figure calculated against an investment via a Lt Company /SPV structure and if the investor found themselves pushed in to the higher tax bracket. Mortgage...

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