The first signs of a collapse in Britain's buy-to-let property market emerged yesterday as Bradford & Bingley, the UK's largest lender to private landlords, revealed a 50% jump in arrears on its mortgage book over the first four months of the year.

B&B, which represents 20% of lending across the British buy-to-let sector, said the number of landlords who were three or more months behind on their mortgage payments had leapt by more than 52% between January and the end of April, to more than 1.5% of its total buy-to-let customer base.

The picture was much worse within one of its books of business – which it acquired from the US lender GMAC-RFC in 2005 – where buy-to-let arrears were up almost 80% to 3.5% of the total.

The Independent