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Activists protest outside agents’ offices demand ‘no bidding’

The anti-agent pro-renter group Acorn has protested outside some agents’ offices in Bristol demanding an end to rival bids for properties on the lettings market. 

Some activists entered agents’ offices calling for an end to what they call ‘bidding wars’. Bristol council’s Labour leaders recently demanded the same. 

“We’re bringing people together here today, we’ve done it before and we’ll keep doing it, until this is a bid-free city in Bristol,” said Acorn organiser Ewan Maclennan.


“We’re trying to stop letting agents pitting tenants against each other to force up the price of rents, driving loads of people out of the city, out of their homes that they’ve been in for years, and breaking apart communities, and this is something that is going on all the time – it’s affecting loads of our members.” 

Last week the council voted to introduce rent controls for the private sector, even though it has no powers to implement such a decision.

Other measures predicted to be backed by Bristol council include a rogue landlord database and exploring how to prevent ‘bidding wars’ to secure private rental properties which have rival prospective tenants.

The proposals for the measures come from a body called the Living Rent Commission, which reports to the council but has an independent structure including councillors from different parties, and tenant representatives. 

Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer says the first King’s Speech under a Labour government would include a so-called Take Back Control bill devolving powers to local communities over employment support, transport, energy, climate change, culture, housing, culture and childcare provision.

Although details were light in Starmer’s speech, the inclusion of housing in his devolution agenda means local mayors and councils may be in a position to implement rent controls, more landlord licensing and other controls over the private rental sector.

Labour local government politicians have been fiercely pro-active in recent months, calling for additional powers over private rental properties and in addition to Bristol, local Labour leaders in London, Manchester and Wales have called for rent controls and other restrictions on the private rental sector.

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    • A W
    • 26 January 2023 08:52 AM

    So what would they propose if a property has 10 offers if not to the highest bidder (and allowing the other 9 the opportunity to increase their offering)? A hunger games style competition where the winner takes the property?

    Stupidity has no bounds apparently.

  • Kristjan Byfield

    It's time these action groups understood the market forces at work here and targetted all of their efforts at government. They are the ones actively shrinking the PRS. They are the ones with ineffective financial policies driving up the cost of mortgages and, as a knock on effect, rents. They are the ones reducing the viability of the sector with moves like S24 to generate more tax at the cost of tenants ultimately. We still have the Renters Reform Bill to pass (supposedly this year) and the impact of that with the removal of S21 (which will bury the courts even more) pushing more landlords either out of the market or to avoid any tenant deemed even a remote risk of defaulting. To intentionally shrink a substantial housing sector without plans & resources in place elsewhere to meet demand, the only people responsible for this fiasco are the politicians.


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