The controversial campaign group ACORN, which has made headlines by protesting outside letting agency offices in Bristol, is launching a new branch.
It will be in Reading and follows a series of alleged disputes involving local agents.
The ACORN website claims that “every week we're going to be bringing stories about some of the dodgy practices letting agents in Reading are getting up to” and has already run stories naming the Haart and Ashley Charles agencies.
In a survey of tenants in the Berkshire town, the group is asking for ‘ratings’ on letting agents.
It continues: “In our survey, we ask everyone to rate their letting agents from 0 (really bad) to 5 (really good). ... We also ask people to suggest ways things could be improved for renters; John [a tenant] recommends ‘remove tenancy fees, longer tenancies if tenants want them, an end to revenge evictions and a rent cap.’”
ACORN’s Bristol branch claims to have successfully persuaded Bristol’s Labour controlled council into introducing a so-called ‘ethical’ lettings charter, and the group says it intends to try to do the same thing in Reading.
The group’s website continues: “If things like letting agencies who charge fees but do nothing, damp homes, fear of raising issues with the landlord and all the other problems with the private rented sector are going to change, we have to stand together and demand changes.”