Nearly half of all Section 21 eviction notices have been prompted by landlords selling their properties, Citizens Advice has revealed.
It also says that it's seen a ramping up of evictions by landlords using Section 21 notices, handling some 2,000 cases last month.
This is the highest level of activity Citizens Advice has seen during a single month and a 25% increase on the same month last year.
To date, 2023 has been a record year for people coming to the charity for help after being served a Section 21 notice, with a 9% increase in demand for support in the first five months of this year compared to the same period last year.
Ironically, the surge seen by Citizens Advice is likely to be down to the Government's plans to abolish Section 21 evictions within the Renters Reform Bill going through parliament.
As LandlordZONE has reported before, this has led to some landlords seeking to exit the market before the Bill becomes law and, despite a '�beefed up' Section 8 notice process, evictions become lengthier and more expensive.
Despite this, Citizens Advice is worried that the strengthened Section 8 measures could still be used by landlords to 'unfairly force tenants out of their homes'�, it says.
'New grounds in the Renters Reform Bill will allow landlords to evict tenants just six months into a tenancy if they wish to sell a property or move family in,'� it adds.
'Worryingly, the new rules won't require landlords to give evidence they have followed through on this once a tenant has left.'�
Citizens Advice is also warning landlords may use excessive rent increases as a way of forcing tenants out, and is urging the government to close these loopholes in the Renters Reform Bill 'to give tenants the promised greater protection and security'�, it says.
The charity is also calling for the length of time new tenants are protected from '�no fault' grounds for eviction to be increased from six months to two years, and for steps to be put in place to ensure landlords who claim to need to sell a property can't rapidly re-let it.
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action, says: "We are in a rental stock crisis and I've been calling this looming crisis for months and months, something Citizens Advice are confirming.
"We have seen as 91% increase year-on-year of landlords issuing accelerated proceedings and the number exiting the market is unprecedented. We'll soon see more doing it as the Renters (Reform) Bill goes through parliament and the abolishment of Section 21 draws nearer.
"But we need to prevent a landlord panic, and it's important that they can feel reasssured they will be able to repossess their properties where appropriate but, looking at what's already going on within the County Courts including the ongoing bailiff shortage, that's already difficult.
"My worry is that good tenants with excellent track records in rent payment will get caught up in this and may become more fearful of eviction, which is not a situation anyone wants."