Been Let Down By a Letting Agency?
Join the Letting Agent Monopoly - Islington Green, 12 noon, Sat 27th April
Our friends at Islington Private Tenants are organising a tour of some local letting agents with a MONOPOLY themed action.
They’ll have props and banner to give out on the day but please bring anything else you have including:
- Banners/ ‘adapted’ letting agent placards
- Monopoly props like top hats and monopoly money
- Anything to make noise with!
RSVP on Facebook if you can: http://www.facebook.com/events/241209972683850/
This action is being organised by local people from north and east London including the private tenant groups Islington Private Tenants, Digs (Hackney), and Tower Hamlets Renters. If you have any questions or ideas, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
When: Saturday 27 April, 12 noon
Meet: Islington Green, N1 8DU
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High rents – research conducted by Shelter found that one in five landlords increase their rents because their letting agent encouraged them to. By contrast, only 4% of landlords increased their rent because they were facing increased costs.
Extortionate, bogus fees – letting agents provide a service to landlords, and charge them for doing so. Yet recently letting agents have started charging bogus fees to tenants as well, often in the region of £300-400 per person just for “admin”, “reference checks” or even “renewing a tenancy”. In Scotland, it is illegal for letting agents to charge tenants any fees.
Discrimination – many lettings agents refuse to let to any tenants in receipt of housing benefit. A recent ‘mystery shopping’ exercise by Crisis found that less than 2% of shared rental properties are available to young single people on benefits. We’ve also come across stories of renters being discriminated against by letting agents because of their gender or race, while Trailblazers, a network of young campaigners with disabilities, have highlighted the poor service their members have received from letting agents.
Unregulated – an amendment to a parliamentary bill on 16 April 2013 means that letting agents will now have to sign up to an ombudsman scheme, and the Office of Fair Trading will have the power to ban those who act improperly. However, it’s still possible for anyone to set up a lettings agency, without any qualifications, need to conform to any code of conduct or provide safeguards.
Profiting from insecurity – letting agents make money from people moving, rather than remaining secure in their homes and putting down roots in a community. According to the English Housing Survey, over a third (35%) of private renters have been in their home for less than a year, compared to 3% of home owners and 8% of social renters.
For further information, see: letdownblog.wordpress.com/