More tenants are paying their rents on time this year, according to new research by Countrywide Letting Agents. The Countrywide Quarterly Letting Index shows that rental payment arrears fell in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the previous year.
The study covers 50,000 properties across England, Scotland and Wales and also shows an increase in average rents compared to the first quarter of 2012.
Only Scotland experienced an increase in rental arrears.
UK rents were up 2.4% year on year but fell by 0.3% compared to the last quarter of 2012 from £838 to £835.
Wales and the East of England saw the biggest rise in rents with a 5.5% boost to £618 and £814 respectively. The south of England saw rents fall by 1.1% year on year but still has the highest rents with a huge £1,054 being coughed up by tenants every month.
It is almost double the average Scottish rent of £580, which has fallen 2.6% year on year, and remains the cheapest area to rent in the UK.
Scotland was also the only UK region to experience an increase in arrears of more than 30 days in the first quarter, up from 2.6% to 6.6%.
The rest of the UK saw falls with the south west experiencing the lowest levels with arrears of just 4.5% of all stock, a 1.2% annual improvement.
The data is a boost to buy-to-let landlords with rents remaining stable and on an upward trend while tenants paying their rent on time.
It shows a maturing buy-to-let market that will become more attractive to investors as the rental market expands in the UK.
Should I become a buy-to-let landlord?
This report shows that now is an excellent time to become a landlord and move into the private rented sector as an investment.
The drop in arrears shows there are fewer risks of non-payment with areas such as the south west returning in excess of £1,000 a month for rent payments.
The growth in the private rented sector has been reflected by mortgage lenders with more and more offering loans to buy-to-let landlords.
This greater level of competition has seen a relaxation of criteria, making it easier to get loans, as well as cheaper rates.
The main buy-to-let lenders have traditionally been BM Solutions and The Mortgage Works, owned by Lloyds Banking Group and Nationwide respectively.
But the last two years has seen a surge in buy-to-let demand leading others such as Santander, Yorkshire Building Society and Metro Bank to enter the fray.
It has also seen major banks such as Barclays and Skipton Building Society dramatically increase their offering to landlords.
There are also specialist lenders such as Paragon Mortgages and Precise Mortgages that offer something different for prospective borrowers.
These lenders are just the tip of the iceberg and it can be an incredibly tough market to navigate if you are not a professional mortgage broker.
As a major, expensive investment a prospective landlord should seek expert advice from an independent qualified mortgage broker.
Why use mortgage brokers?
Not only can a mortgage broker explains the complex lending criteria and affordability checks for buy-to-let loans but also which lenders offer the right deals at the right time.
Specialist lenders such as Paragon Mortgages are only available through brokers while many lenders only sell advised products through brokers.
A buy-t-let deal is particularly complex and many people require a trained professional to guide them through, even more than when they are buying a home to live in.
With rental yield calculations, maintenance costs and a plethora of rates it can be tricky and risky if an amateur landlord gets it wrong.
A broker has a regulatory duty to treat you fairly and consider the whole market to find what is best for you.
When the buy-to-let market is becoming more attractive through low arrears and steady rents it is worthing speaking to a broker to work out if it is right for you.