According to data recently released by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (Arla), during the last six months of 2010, 40% of landlords reported a rise in tenants struggling to raise their rent. The figure has gone up from 35.9% and is the first such rise in 18 months. The Arla poll surveyed 554 letting agents and was conducted in the final three months of 2010.
This report is not surprising when other sources suggest that rental levels have risen for 10 months in a row. London was cited as the place where people were most likely to be up to date – even though rents have been rising at their fastest pace in the capital. In all 9.7% of all rents have not been paid with pay cuts and job losses largely to blame.
Although the data also showed tenants increasingly haggling with their landlords, rents are expected to rise further in the remainder of 2011. This will doubtlessly put tenants under even more financial pressure with UK rents already running at an all-time high. A recent survey by buy-to-let specialist Paragon Group revealed that 41% of the landlords polled said that they would be increasing rents in the coming year. A further 55% said they would be keeping them at 2010 levels with only 4% looking to reduce the amount of rent that they are charging.
Commenting on the figures, Ian Potter, operations manager at ARLA said: “At the beginning of last year we predicted that the number of tenants having difficulties paying rent would increase and unfortunately, this seems to be the case today. It is a situation which can have serious repercussions throughout the private rental sector, as without guaranteed rent income, landlords may also have problems paying mortgages. At worst, it may result in a rise in repossessions.”
The average rental figure for the country as a whole is around £690; this is far outstripped in London by an average of around £970. Despite this, the rental market grew steadily in 2010 and is expected to continue to grow in 2011. There continues to be a lack of mortgage finance available so many people have no choice but to opt for a rental property.