Private rental arrears are rising which is bad news for landlords and letting agents. The level now stands at a worrying 9.1 per cent of the total of private sector rent due in England and Wales, according to data by letting agents Your Move and Reeds Rains. This compares to 8.8 per cent a month ago and 7.4 per cent a year ago. However, it is still far better than the highest level of arrears which stood at 14.6 percent in February 2010.
Renting is the only option for many people as the price of property in some regions, such as London and the South-East are out of the reach of ordinary workers. Other people may rent because they are on short-term contracts or are at university, so they will only be in the area for a relatively short term.
But a lack of quality homes available for tenants means that rents can be very high. A one-bedroom apartment in central London commands a monthly rent of at least £1,800 while even the commuter town of Reading has an average rent of £1,200 per month.
So if private renting is to remain an affordable option, it requires more supply and, therefore, greater choice. Good landlords will also understand that their interests and those of their tenants are one and the same. Landlords have a responsibility to their tenants to manage the property well.
This includes keeping in touch with tenants; to listen to any concerns; to quickly deal with any maintenance issues; and to avoid the possibility of the tenant getting into arrears with the rent.
By keeping in regular contact with tenants, landlords can easily bring up the subject of rent arrears so that any issues can be addressed quickly. Landlords can schedule meetings or a quick call to tenants in their diary. If they use specialist software, they can even set up alerts to let them know they need to get in touch regarding inspections or simply to make a courtesy call.
Modern technology will also track payments so landlords will know immediately if a given tenant has fallen behind with the rent. If they need to take action against the tenant, they will be required to provide a copy of rent payment records to the court.
These are just some of the many reasons why it is important to keep records of all communications with tenants. Having the right software is increasingly essential for busy landlords and agents, ensuring that data is kept in one place and is thus readily available.