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Tenant arrears hits two-year high

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30/09/2015
The number of tenants who are seriously behind on their rent payments has risen to its highest level in two years.

Data published by estate agency chains Your Move and Reeds Rains found that there are now 74,000 tenants who owe more than two months’ rent.

This number has risen rapidly in the last year, with 5,000 more households in financial difficulty compared to a year ago.

While this figure is rising, it remains below the peak recorded in the wake of the financial crisis. At its worst, some 116,600 rental households were in severe financial difficulty.

Across the whole market 1.4% of all tenants are in severe arrears.

Adrian Gill, director of estate agents Your Move and Reeds Rains, said that despite economic improvements, many people were struggling with rapidly rising rents.

“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 5% over the last year according to our separate research,” he said.

“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.

“Severe arrears are still much lower than their previous peaks – but a lack of further progress highlights the underlying and fundamental supply shortage. Tenants need more available properties on the market, and landlords should be encouraged to invest further in order to keep up with growing demand.”

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