A lettings agent who has made a series of outbursts against landlords and councils, has now turned his anger on proposed planning changes.
Ajay Jagota - who runs the KIS lettings agency in the north of England, and now operates a repairs chase-up and compensation service called Veriwise - says planning changes which allow the conversion of some disused shops and offices into residential units risk “an avalanche of unacceptable housing.”
There has been some criticism of the government’s permitted development conversions in recent months, with some being accused of being turned into micro-homes, some with very restricted natural light.
Now Jagota says: “Allowing faster change of use from retail and office space to housing is something I have supported for a long time. It’s a policy which delivers much needed housing without the need to build on green spaces while also driving the footfall in town centres which will boost their shopping and leisure offer.
“But not everyone wins. The research shows permitted development can open the door to poor quality rented housing, as unscrupulous landlords scoop up poor quality buildings on the cheap and convert them into poorer quality homes. This is likely to lead to even more rented properties in need of repairs – and all-too-often not getting them.
“One in five rented homes already fail to meet minimum standards. My concern is that without adequate protection these changes risk creating an avalanche of unacceptable housing. But while they are plenty of laws protecting renters, councils seem unwilling or unable to enforce them.
“There are already renters up and down the country enduring a landlord not doing repairs, and wondering when their landlord will fix their leaky roof, electricity or heating and even fearing revenge evictions for reporting a repair. And without appropriate support from their local authorities their predicament is never going to improve.”
Last month - again in a statement about his repairs compensation scheme - Jagota accused private landlords of not taking their responsibilities seriously.
He claims the recent English Housing Survey shows 17 per cent of private tenants not being satisfied with the standard of their homes, and another quarter of tenants dissatisfied with the repairs and maintenance carried out by their landlord.