In the three months to the end of March 2013, the total number of households in rental arrears rose by 4.8% over the previous quarter.
Significantly, that figure relates specifically to those in severe rent arrears, with two or more months’ payments owing to their landlords.
A total of 94,000 people are now living in severe rent arrears, according to LSL Property Services, an increase of 4,000 over the previous quarter, and the fourth-highest figure on record.
The number is now just 10% short of Q3 2012, when the all-time record was set, and is only below it thanks to an unusually high drop of 14.5% in the number of severe cases in Q4.
David Brown, commercial director at LSL Property Services, says: “As long as rents remain close to last year’s record highs, there’s a strong incentive for landlords to invest in the private rented sector.
“But credit is still extremely hard to find, despite the increasing importance of the private rented sector to the UK’s total housing supply.”
He adds that landlords should “look carefully” before agreeing to accommodate new tenants, in order to avoid any unwanted negative impacts to their finances.