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Agency unrepentant over anti-Labour letter

Belvoir remains unrepentant after criticism from some quarters over an email sent to tenants last week intimating that a vote for Labour could effectively cost them their homes.

The Peterborough and Cambridge franchise of Belvoir stated in the email: “As a letting agent, we are not interested in promoting any particular political party, but do feel that it is important to alert you, as a valued client, to the potentially damaging outcomes of Labour’s proposed policies. These are policies that will be extremely detrimental to you.”

On the subject of Labour’s proposed rent caps and long-term tenancies the email comments: “Whilst at first glance this might sound as if it is a good thing for tenants, I can assure you that it will have the opposite effect. Should tenant fees be abolished these costs will be passed to the landlord and if this happens there is a very strong possibility that many landlords will either increase rents to recoup their costs or they will withdraw from the market and sell their properties.”

The email also says that ““there is a very strong possibility that you, and thousands of other tenants, could lose your homes and find it almost impossible to source another rental property because the supply of good quality accommodation will dry up”.

Back in March franchisees across the Belvoir network were urged to write to their landlords and tenants warning them of the consequences of Labour winning the election, following comments from Belvoir’s outgoing director Dorian Gonsalves that Ed Miliband’s proposals for the private rental sector were “flawed” and “anti-letting agents.”

After a national newspaper picked up the Peterborough and Cambridge email, there was criticism of Belvoir’s correspondence from Generation Rent and other pressure groups.

But Belvoir has defended the move and David Cox, managing director of the Association of Residential Letting Agents, has told The Guardian newspaper that ARLA does not support a specific political party but “scrapping letting agent fees is a legitimate concern for the sector.”

  • Daniel Roder

    Ridiculous scaremongering!

    “As a letting agent, we are not interested in promoting any particular political party, but do feel that it is important to alert you, as a valued client, to the potentially damaging outcomes of Labour’s proposed policies. These are policies that will be extremely detrimental to you."

    This makes me laugh. Well, you obviously were interested in swaying people to vote anything but Labour.

    This is why housing, like the NHS, should be taken out of politics altogether. It's too important an issue to be used as a political football. As a landlord, I think Labour's criticisms of the PRS were over-the-top and I had reservations about how they were going to implement their rent controls and other regulation. But do I think the Tories have all the answers? No, definitely not.

    And it shouldn't be the place of letting agents to scaremonger like this. It's totally out of order and Belvoir should apologise.

  • Algarve  Investor

    Pretty poor form, to be honest. Surely letting agents should be independent from this sort of electioneering?

    Seems very unfair somehow. Whatever you political preferences, it doesn't seem right to make attempts to influence how your landlords/tenants vote. Is there not some rule against this sort of thing?

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