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Tenants struggling to pay rent arrears to buy to let landlords have rocketed by 20% in a year, according to the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux (CAB).
The free access advice centres across England and Wales dealt with 20 rent arrears inquiries every day during the three months ending September 30.
The jump of 1,184 inquiries increased arrears cases from 5,876 to 7,020 for the period.
Other housing issues also saw a big rise in inquiries during the quarter.
Many of the cases involve low-paid workers who are expected to fare worse from government spending cuts and CAB fears figures relating to housing problems will continue to increase.
Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: “Housing has always been one of the top four issues dealt with by Citizens Advice Bureaux, but this big increase in the number of homelessness enquiries we are seeing is very worrying.
“The rapid growth in rent arrears to private sector landlords should also ring loud alarm bells with the government, MPs and local councils as they consider the likely impact of the big cuts to housing benefit that are looming.
“Most of the private tenants we see with rent arrears are on incomes of less than £1,000 a month and many are in low paid work, or have lost their job in the recession and fallen into debt as a result of the sudden big drop in income.
“Many are already struggling to meet a shortfall between housing benefit payments and their rent. The planned cuts could tip tens of thousands more individuals and families into rent arrears, putting them at real risk of homelessness.”
These figures conflict with those recently released by lettings giant LSL Property Services that showed outstanding rent owed to residential landlords fell from £229.3 million in September to £221 million by the end of the last month.
About 9.3% of rent was unpaid in October, according to the group that manages letting brands like Your Move and Reeds Rains.
LSL Property Services claims these figures match the lowest figures recorded by them for rent arrears.
The Money Centre’s recommended solution for protecting rental cashflow is Rent-on-Time.
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