The number of tenants in severe arrears has risen by 4,000 to 94,000 in the first three months of 2013, according to LSL Property Services
This represents an increase of almost five per cent over the previous three months and is the fourth highest on record.
However, LSL’s figures show that overall tenant arrears fell in February, with 7.4 per cent of all rent late or unpaid compared to 8.1 per cent in January and 10.1 per cent in December.
Paul Jardine, director and receiver at Templeton LPA which is owned by LSL Property Services, said: “Household finances are feeling the impact of spiraling costs, particularly energy bills and many tenants have finally pulled their finances back together after the strain of the festive period. But for a significant minority the situation is actually much worse than three months ago, and this is reflected in the most severe tenant arrears.
"As 2013 progresses, the ability of tenants to pay their rent will depend on improvements in the labour market and wages in particular."
In the last three months of of 2012, 25,286 tenants faced eviction notices, a quarterly rise of 5.7 per cent. This means evictions are at the highest level ever recorded in a three month period, 10.2 per cent higher than a year before.