Around 67,000 buy to let tenants are more than two months behind with their rents, according to new research.
The number represents 1.5% of all private renters, says LSL Property Services, the firm which runs letting agencies Your Move and Reeds Rains.
Despite seeming a high level of tenants in rent arrears, the number has fallen by more than a third in the past year.
Just over 100,000 tenants or 2.2% of the private renters had serious rent arrears of two months or more 12 months ago, says the firm.
The tenants with arrears owe around 7% of all rents that were due in the year ending June 2014.
However, more tenants face losing their homes as landlords are pursuing more eviction orders through the courts.
In the first quarter of 2014, judges agreed to issue 33,000 possession orders at county courts. This is just under 6% more than in the final three months of 2013 and 10% more compared to the same time last year.
More tenants paying their rent on time has given buy to let landlords better cash flow, the study found.
The number of landlords with buy to let mortgage arrears has reduced by 11% from the first quarter of 2014 and 18% year-on-year.
“For a minority of tenants there was a significant rise in serious rental arrears. As the job market gradually comes back to life, the effect on the most hard-pressed of households is clear to be seen,” said spokesman Paul Jardine.”
“Landlords and tenants depend closely on one another. If rent is late, it is vital that both parties discuss how to get the tenancy back on track as soon as possible. When rental arrears do arise, they are usually resolved in the space of a month or two – and the chances of more serious problems arising are falling even further.”