The number of buy-to-let mortgages over three months in arrears fell to 11,900 cases by the end of 2014, according to data from estate agency chains Your Move and Reeds Rains.
The figure fell by 4.8% between Q3 and Q4 2014 – ushering in the ninth consecutive quarter of improvement and the lowest level of landlord mortgage arrears recorded since early 2008.
The data also shows that on an annual basis, the number of such distressed loans to landlords has fallen by 27.9% since standing at 16,500 in Q4 2013.
Director of Your Move and Reeds Rains, Adrian Gill, says that positive figures will only be further enhanced by the surprise outcome of the general election earlier this month.
“Many landlords will be grateful that certain policies are no longer an immediate threat. In particular, the long-term effect of rent controls would have only been to raise rents by squeezing supply, diminish the quality of rented homes and make life for tenants worse,” he says.
However, Gill believes that in the longer-term tenant finances are the most effective limit on rents. “Tenants must be able to afford their rent for any landlord to realise their financial plans on paper. In this way landlords depend more on the prosperity of their tenants than on any particular policy or political environment.”
He says that the overarching message for landlords is one of optimism due to high demand and improved household finances.
“The only caveat must be that there is still a very small chance that tenants will fall into financial difficulties. Landlords can’t discount that completely – and need to keep all lines of communication open and investigate any potential problems at an early stage,” he adds.