An increasing number of private tenants face eviction from buy to let homes despite keeping up with their rent.
Calls for help from renters without arrears threatened with eviction to charity Citizens Advice soared by 38% in the past year.
Around 5,000 private tenants contacted help lines, compared with 3,750 the year before.
The most common problems they reported were:
- A landlord wanted to sell the buy to let property they were renting
- Rents were put up to a level the tenant could not afford
- Retaliatory evictions after tenants asked the landlord to make repairs to their home
Another common issue, said Citizens Advice, is landlords giving tenants notice when they move on to housing benefit, even if they are not in rent arrears.
Citizens Advice claims the problem is worst in London and the South East, where pleas for help from tenants more than doubled in the first three months of 2014 – from 400 to 900.
The charity also noticed that the rising number of calls corresponds with house price increases.
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Tenants are treated as cash cows as a chronic housing shortage pushes up prices and forces renters out of their homes. Competition for properties means that tenants are easy to replace, increasing insecurity for people trying to create a home in the private rented sector.
“We see people who will be forced to move away from work, school or family and friends, which can ramp up commuting and childcare costs or disrupt a child’s education.”
Citizens Advice also alleges landlords are unfairly keeping deposits, refusing to carry out repairs and are harassing tenants.
Over the past year, 150,000 people sought advice on renting from a private landlord on the charity’s website, a 13% increase on the previous year.