Tenants are facing a financial struggle to pay their rents, according to the latest survey by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
Around 40% of letting agents told their trade body that the number of tenants late with rents has increased over the past six months.
Haggling to persuade landlords to knock some money off the rent has also become popular, say the letting agents, especially in the North East and South West.
Several letting agents are also claiming landlords are opting to manage their properties rather than pay them to collect the rents and deal with repairs in a bid to cut their expenses.
Sally Lawson, of Concentric Lettings, Wolverhampton, said: “A lot more landlords opting for the ‘Let only’ or ‘rent collection only’ service this month, rather than the fully managed service.
“We usually get around 25% opt for the let only service of all the take-ons that we have, but this month it was 60%, we are hoping it was a one off, but we will certainly be monitoring the progress over the next month.”
Ian Potter, Operations Manager at ARLA, said: “With unemployment predicted to rise and average rents also increasing in some parts of the country, it seems more and more tenants are finding it impossible to make ends meet.
“It is likely that the same is happening for landlords, who may find their mortgage rate is rising. At worst, this double whammy may result in landlords defaulting on mortgages and tenants being forced to move out of a property.”
To back the sentiment expressed by ARLA, specialist landlord insurer Homelet disclosed in a separate survey that tenant incomes had dropped by an average 3.5% in London and around 1.5% across the rest of the country, which was leading to some financial problems.