Guardian columnist Michele Hanson has described rip off letting agents as people who have slid themselves into a gap that wasn't there before, to suck your wallets dry.
Hanson - who in the piece suggests she is in her 70s - says that she was lucky to have been a renter back in her 20s when flats were easy to find and rent came to a fifth or less of her typical income. And better still she says there were no rip-off letting agents.
Hanson's piece, now online, says two young friends of hers who recently moved rental house in Kent had to pay six weeks' extortionate rent in advance and also loads of extra charges trumped up by the letting agents: inventory fees, credit checks (one each), tenancy background check (one each), guarantor fee, referencing fee, tenancy agreement fee, moving in fee from one, exit fee from the other. Or if they didn't exit, a renewal fee.
The letting agent had them all ways she claims, and was also witholding their £1,000 deposit while he sent in his cleaners and decorators to see how much mess he could blame and charge them for, while they were scraping up every groat they had to pay the next whacking great deposit and mountain of charges.
Hanson - who makes no reference to the legislation that currently surrounds the private rental sector or the statutory requirement for letting agents to be in a redress system - says the recession must have been fun for the agency industry with no annoying statutory regulation and hordes of desperate people, easily panicked into paying up.
She then says it would be a vote-winning policy for a political party to advocate regulating these leeches.