Third of tenants are evicted to sell property

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Paul Melia

One-in-three renters is being evicted from their homes because the landlord is selling the property.

National housing charity Threshold has called for domestic tenants to be given the same rights as those in commercial buildings, where they are allowed to remain living in the property until the sale has been completed.

Chief executive John-Mark McCafferty said that some landlords are "abusing the legislation" to hike up their rental yields by using a "fake sale", falsely claiming they needed the property for a family member, or falsely saying they were planning to carry out substantial renovation.

"Even though this behaviour is illegal under the Residential Tenancies Act, we regularly receive complaints from tenants who have been told to leave their homes on these grounds, only for the property to be then re-advertised at a higher rate of rent," he said.

He added that where a property was being sold as a buy-to-let, existing tenants should be allowed to remain in their homes, and their tenancy transferred to the new owner who would become their landlord.

The call comes as figures for the first three months of the year show the charity's housing advisers helped 3,640 clients facing "tenancy insecurity", handling more than 19,000 calls.

The top three reasons for terminations by a landlord were the property was being sold (36pc), the landlord or a family member was moving in (16pc) or the house or apartment was undergoing renovation (10pc).