Private tenant rent arrears drop in May

The amount of rent money owed by private tenants in England and Wales fell 2.1 per cent during May, according to a network of lettings agents.

LSL Property Services in its latest buy-to-let index out today shows the total amount of late or unpaid rent decreased to £276 million last month, compared to £282 million in April.

This equates to 8.2 per cent of all rents that are in arrears across England and Wales, compared to 8.4 per cent of all rents in April.

‘Tenants are gradually paying down rental arrears - part of a broader shift where consumers are focusing on deleveraging and shedding their bad debts,’ said David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services.

‘It’s a clear long-term trend, despite the occasional more difficult month,’ he added.

The index also indicated rent rises in May had been slower than in recent months. The average rent in England and Wales rose by 0.1 per cent since April, to £737 per month, LSL said.

This is slower than the average monthly increase of 0.3 per cent over the previous twelve months.

However, the latest increase still leaves rents up 3.5 per cent higher than in May 2012 and brings rents last month to the third highest level on record.