In what would seem an impossible contrast to the monthly cries of ‘record high rents’, the measure of tenant arrears for October was found to be just 7.1% of all rent, representing the lowest level of tenant arrears since data had been recorded within the PRS five years ago. November 2008 had up to now been the marker for healthy tenant finances, at 13.1% of all rent in arrears.
Although inflation fell to from 2.7% in September to 2.2% in October, the average rental increase across England and Wales was just 0.2% in the same period. So while the numbers are slowly creeping upwards, the value they represent is decreasing in real terms.
Furthermore, when the numbers are broken down regionally, it reveals that seven out of the ten regions actually saw a fall in rent. Rents fell the most in the West Midlands (3.6%), the East Midlands (2.4%), and Yorkshire and the Humber (1.7%). The continually rising cost of rents in the South-East, South-West and London, particularly with the increased development of luxury flats, distorts the bigger picture.
Compounded with recent research from the National Landlords Association showing that 40% of landlords have profit margins so slim that one missed rental payment can cause them financial difficulty, sensationalist ‘record high rents’ claims in the media prove to be misleading.
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