The proportion of properties bought by landlords with a sitting tenant has reached the highest level since 2005, according to Countrywide.
The agency group, which has analysed over 65,000 rental properties, says that in 2014 some 11 per cent of all rental properties bought by a landlord came with a sitting tenant. This represents a four-fold increase on 2008.
Countrywide says the stats shows that tenants in properties sold as occupied have lived in their home significantly longer than the average tenant. A quarter of these tenants signed contracts of two years or longer compared to just five per cent of tenants overall. This means for a growing number of renters, the decision of their landlord to sell does not affect their living conditions.
The agency says it is in London and south east England where yields are lowest and where the proportion of landlord purchases with a sitting tenant is highest. Here, landlords are most likely to buy a property with a sitting tenant to ensure they receive a rental income immediately, improving their return.
Between 2008 and 2014, the north east of England saw the largest uplift in landlords buying with a tenant already in place
Countrywide says there are signs that landlords are increasingly looking to buy from other landlords where there is already a tenant in place. Across every region of the UK, the proportion of sales with a sitting tenant rose.
In London, for example, over quarter of all purchases by landlords in 2014 came with a sitting tenant, up from 12 per cent in 2008