Rent struggles ease

According to ARLA’s latest quarterly report, letting agents have found that fewer tenants are finding rental payments difficult.

From a high of 65% when the issue was first monitored in the Q2 2009 survey, the number of respondents reporting an increase in those struggling to meet rental payments has now fallen to an all-time-low of 27%.

While this does suggest affordability remains a problem for a significant minority, the overall trend appears to be moving towards more manageable rents.

This finding comes as just under half (46%) of letting agents say they have seen demand for rental homes outstripping supply, with more tenants than properties available at the end of 2013 – representing a slight decrease on the 52% recorded in the previous quarter of the same year.

While this figure illustrates a slight decline in the level of competition for properties, it is far from historic lows of 10% seen in 2009 and still represents significant under-supply.

Ian Potter, managing director of ARLA, said: “Competition for the best rental properties remains fierce, but this should not tempt tenants to offer beyond their means to secure a property.

“Despite often needing to make a swift decision, I would urge tenants to carefully consider their finances before signing a tenancy agreement.

“As well as the rent itself, other considerations like the deposit, utility bills and contents insurance should always be factored in to any budget to avoid any shortfall.

“Any overall fall in rental arrears is good news, but this figure is still high considering the economic climate in the UK remains challenging. As well as the importance of tenants considering their finances, it is also essential that landlords factor in a degree of flexibility when working out their potential returns on a property.”