Rent arrears

Vincenzo Rampulla

Our latest figures on how landlords are finding rent arrears will be cold comfort for the industry, says Vincenzo Rampulla from the NLA Campaigns Team.

A small drop from 24.5 per cent to 21 per cent of landlords facing rent arrears over the last three months is still a drop, with the average amount of arrears falling from £987 to £799.

“Great! Landlords aren’t losing on average £4,000 a year; they’re just losing £2,400.”

Obviously, there is a context behind these figures, the effects of unemployment around the country and the latent pain of the recession means times are still difficult for some tenants and, therefore, some landlords.

But £800 is still a lot of money to anyone.

That is money that could be spent on mortgage repayments, landlord insurance, safety equipment, and all the other costs that go into letting property professionally.

Not that there is much sympathy for landlords; the prevailing view is that landlords can live with this cost. The wider world is still under the impression every landlord is in the position where rent equals profit.

That might be true for a very small number but for many landlords around the country, the reality will be very different. Maybe it’s time those landlords gave their side of the story and were more open about just how much it costs to let property professionally in the modern market?

It also means that politicians, housing charities, the industry and the public need to start to focus on rent arrears as a financial exclusion issue.

Instead of tenants and landlords ignoring the issue of increasing debt, both sides need to talk to each other and get help where it is needed.

Because £800 is a lot of money to anyone.

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