Number of renters in bad debt reaches six figures

The number of people who rent their homes in England and Wales and are in severe arrears with payments has topped 100,000, a new study has found.

The number of people who rent their homes in England and Wales and are in severe arrears with payments has topped 100,000, a new study has found.

Chartered surveyors Templeton LPA has published its latest Tenant Arrears Tracker and this shows the tally for the second quarter to have climbed to 100,400 – up 24 per cent in a year.

It is also the highest total in the four years that the firm has been monitoring such numbers and it represents 2.6 per cent of all those renting a home, compared with 2.4 per cent in the previous quarter.

And this is leading to more evictions, with 26,060 facing notices in the quarter, over five per cent more than in the same period in 2011.

Director and receiver at the company Paul Jardine said: "As the private rented sector grows, the number of tenants in dire financial straits is steadily climbing. Falling wages in real terms have been compounded by rising rents, pushing a greater number of rented households over the edge financially."

He predicted that the number will go on rising as the economy struggles, the labour market ensures uncertainty and more austerity measures are on the way.

For people in such difficulty, significant help may be needed, such as a debt management plan or even an individual voluntary arrangement, should their total debts add up to £15,000 or more.

Indeed, large credit card debts and unpaid loans may be other symptoms of severe financial problems as well as an inability to pay the rent.

While some renters are struggling, others who are better off are "frustrated" at not being able to get on the property ladder as mortgage finance is harder to get.
This comment tallies with a report by the National Association of Estate Agents revealing that only 17 per cent of home sales in May were to first-time buyers, compared with 24 per cent in April.

By James Francis
 

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