Some urban-based local authority landlords are seeing arrears rates as high as 10%, compared to a median of 2.89% for all UK social landlords, according to new figures from data analytics company, Housemark.
In its annual report, Year-in-numbers: 2021-22, published last week (23 May), Housemark stated that since the increase in arrears in 2020 stemming from the first lockdown's dramatic drop in economic activity, the pattern of arrears rates over the 2021/22 financial year had been "much steadier".
"Our investigation of arrears drivers shows that overall sector-wide figures feature some very positive results from groups of landlords managing highly effective rent collection operations," the report added.
"These landlords tend to be smaller, locally focussed housing associations and ALMOs. By contrast, we also have data showing that larger, urban-based local authority landlords are seeing arrears rates as high as 10%."
The report forecasted a small increase in arrears in the next year as cost-of-living increases continue to bite, estimating that year-end 2022/23 median results will be closer to 3%.
The research also found that:
- After a year with demonstrably higher Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) volumes (2020/21 saw an increase of 15%), 2021/22 appears to show a return to more normal volumes.
- The number of tenants satisfied with their landlord has dropped 5% in the last year, from 85% pre-pandemic to 80% now.
- Landlords recently caught up to a pre-pandemic position in regard to repairs, with the average landlord reporting overall repairs volumes similar to pre-pandemic averages as of March 2022. Social landlords completed around 2.5 million fewer repairs in the year to March 2021, according to the data.
Housemark also predicted that as the English complaint handling code becomes more established, including changes introduced on 1 April 2022, the volume of complaints will continue to rise.