With tenants being hit by record-high rents, landlords should refrain from putting extra pressure on those tenants who are already struggling to pay their rent by increasing rents further.
Recent research by the lender Kent Reliance found that around a third of buy-to-let landlords intended to pass on increased costs to their tenants following the surcharge on stamp duty for second property owners and cap on tax relief for buy-to-let mortgages. But Jane Morris, managing director of PropertyLetByUs, says that this could backfire on landlords.
Morris is concerned that any further increases in rental values could push up the number of rental sector tenant evictions.
The latest seasonally adjusted figures from the Ministry of Justice released in May show there were 10,732 repossessions of rented homes by bailiffs between January and March 2016, up from 10,253 in the final three months of 2015.
The number of tenants evicted from their homes by bailiffs reached a record high in 2015, according to official figures for England and Wales, which shows that 42,728 households in rented accommodation were forcibly removed.
These figures are echoed by a new report from online letting agent PropertyLetByUs which shows that a quarter of landlords have served an eviction notice to tenants over the last 12 months and 5% have pursued an eviction through the courts. Furthermore, almost half of landlords have also experienced rent arrears over the last 12 months.
Morris said: “Landlords are increasingly facing rent arrears, as rent escalation continues to outstrip gross income. They are also facing a financial squeeze due to restrictions on their tax breaks and some may be raising rents to supplement their income. Pushing up rent rises further will put huge pressure on those tenants who are already struggling to pay their rent. We may well see evictions continuing to rise over the next few months.”
Morris is urging landlords to protect their rental income by ensuring that they carry out all necessary background checks, including referencing, with all new tenants.
“Times are very tough for many tenants and demand for rental accommodation is soaring in many parts of the UK. Landlords need to extra vigilant when they take on a new tenant. But a few simple checks will help identify if a tenant is in a good financial position or not,” she added.