10:47 AM, 1st April 2015, About 7 years ago 16
I was reading my local rag online last night and came across the following story regarding rent increases (I’ve removed the Agent’s name and other details so as not to break the house rules):
A letting agent is encouraging landlords in Southville to put their rents up because of Bristol’s “buoyant” rental market.
Agent xxxx sent a letter to the landlords who use their services claiming it was “highly likely” that their properties were due a rent increase.
It caused outrage from people who say the agent is cashing in on people who can’t afford to get on the property ladder.
The letter, sent from the agent’s Southville branch, asks landlords: “Are you getting enough rent?”
It said: “With rents increasing every week in Bristol, it is highly likely your property is due a rent increase.
“The demand from prospective tenants is far exceeding the number of available properties and we have never seen such a buoyant rental market.”
A petition has been started online to “stop xxxx exploiting the housing crisis in Bristol.”
The creators of the petition said: “The letter shows how some estate agents and landlords are seeking to cynically profit from the housing crisis in Bristol at a time when inflation has declined to 0.3 per cent and deflation is predicted. I think there is no justification for increasing rents at a time when prices are actually going down. In addition, real average earnings have fallen by 8 per cent every year since 2008.
“Such predatory rental practices are an attack on low income people and threaten the most basic of rights – the security of a home to live in.”
A woman called Mary signed the petition and posted: “This is worrying and has obviously touched a big nerve in the city but all the other agents are doing it too.
“The petition would be more effective if it was towards the council to intervene in rent prices.”
In the letter, the letting agent said it had recently let a one-bedroom house in Coronation Road for £835 per month.
And it had let a two-bedroom house in Windmill Hill for £1,500, and a three-bedroom house in Kingston Road for £1,600.
xxxx, managing director of five xxxx sales and lettings offices in north, east and central Bristol, posted his opinion of the letter on Twitter.
He said: “I agree [with the petition] and have signed, my offices believe in good service as reason to use us, shame Southville have chosen this route.”
He added: “No office under my control sends these nor will ever.”
xxxx does not control the Southville office, where the letter came from.
Stuart Melvin, a national organiser for Acorn, said: “This letter has highlighted the issues of increasing rents and inequality in Bristol.
“We know there is a housing crisis. This kind of aggressive marketing from an agency is damaging.
“Landlords take the advice of the letting agent very seriously and they will put the rent up.
“They are exploiting the housing crisis we are facing. There is a shortage of all kinds of housing, affordable or not.
“People are being squeezed out of home ownership and now more and more people are prized out of even renting.”
Mr Melvin added that thousands of people were on Bristol City Council’s housing register, and more would be forced to join it if rents get too high.
He said: “If there is not enough social housing, and people can’t rent and they can’t buy, where are they supposed to go?
“Acorn are keen to reach out to xxxx and see them make an apology or sign our Ethical Lettings Charter. If agents are serious about doing things fairly, they should make a statement and sign up.”
A spokesman for xxxx confirmed the letter was sent by the Southville office, but refused to comment further.
It is not known when the letter was sent to landlords, but it is thought to be recently.
A spokesperson for Generation Rent, a campaign group fighting for affordable rent, told the Metro: “Landlords don’t have to put up rents, but as the housing crisis worsens and tenants get more desperate, landlords who don’t raise rents are being told they’re stupid for not doing so.
“No-one powerful is challenging them not to raise rents on the grounds of simple ethics.
“Tenants are increasingly seen as nothing more than cattle to be milked.”
Letters like the one sent by xxxx can be common practice in some agencies.
Aisha Egala, who rents in Bristol, said: “Clearly disgusting for tenants, but nothing new. Agencies are a big factor in our unsustainable rental market.
“I’m glad this letter has been published so we can all see why all of a sudden our rent has gone up. Mine went from £900 to £1,200 in the space of 18 months.”
Landlord Jo Massey said: “I’m a landlord and the only justification for a rent increase is the costs increasing or improvements to the property. I’ve signed the petition to stop xxxx using this letter.
“I’ve never used an agent their rates are ridiculous, I’m not sure why any landlord or tenant would use one nowadays unless you are not local to the property and able to respond if there’s a problem.”
Just thought I’d post this for all to see and get your opinions on such a tactic?
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