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Graham Awards


Letting agents accused of “profiteering” rent rises

A new manifesto calling for rent controls and a raft of other measures is accusing the current rent rises of being driven by “profiteering” letting agents. 

A collection of pro-tenant pressure groups has issued a manifesto of demands which it wants politicians of all parties to accept. 

“This includes the statement: An affordable home is increasingly out of reach for many, with high rents pushing more and more people into financial hardship. Excessive rent rises are driven by profiteering by letting agents and landlords. 


“The market isn’t regulating itself; it is the Government’s responsibility to make sure everyone can access an affordable home. No one should have to spend more than 30% of their income on rent. We need rent controls that bring rents down and maintain them at this level. Local incomes should be factored in when these controls are set, and they should be accountable to renters.”

The demands also include one saying that unspecified “protections” should be put in place “to make sure that tenants who receive benefits (often women, families, or people with long-term conditions or disabilities), are not discriminated against by landlords and letting agents.”

It also wants councils to have a statutory duty to prosecute letting agents who discriminate against “LGBTQ+ people, those with mental health and learning disabilities, people with physical disabilities, survivors of domestic violence, migrant communities, asylum seekers and marginalised racial or ethnic groups (including People of Colour, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people).”

The far-reaching manifesto comes from a collection of pressure groups fronted by Generation Rent and including New Economics Foundation, direct action advocates Acorn, plus the London Renters Union and Greater Manchester Tenants Union. 

Other demands include:

- A clear commitment to giving local authorities and community-led housing schemes first refusal on private rented properties entering the market to buy them into public ownership;

- An end to Section 21 evictions and, where landlords are allowed to get back their properties, relocation payments for tenants;

- Any landlord selling must sell with a sitting tenant if they wish to stay; and all tenants must have an unspecified right to defend themselves against an eviction with access to legal aid;

- Even lodgers and licensees should have stronger legal protections against evictions;

- All tenancies should be open-ended for all tenants “so they can leave when they need to and can expect to stay as long as they like”;

- No one should have to spend more than 30 per cent of their income on rent, with controls that bring rents down and maintain them at this level;

- There should be mandatory national registration of all private landlords, agents, and rented properties;

- All rented homes should be brought up to an EPC C or above, enforced by councils, with tenants entitled to claim rent back on homes that are not energy efficient;

- Tenants should have the right to decorate their homes and have pets, and “cosmetic alterations and redecorating should not count towards deposit deductions”;

- Local Housing Allowance must be unfrozen and “made immediately available to any tenant when they need to claim this”;

- End Right to Rent and nationality requirements for social housing. There should be no immigration checks in licensing or enforcement regimes;

- More provisions (which are not specified in the manifesto) for “LGBTQ+ people, those with mental health and learning disabilities, people with physical disabilities, survivors of domestic violence, migrant communities, asylum seekers and marginalised racial or ethnic groups (including People of Colour, Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people)”;

- Tenant unions should be consulted proactively by the government “and given a seat at the table when making decisions that will affect renters”;

- End Right To Buy and “government investment in a huge public house building programme that should aim to deliver 3.1m council homes over 20 years”;

- Holiday lets and short term lets must be “licensed and limited”. 


The groups’ spokesperson, Conor O’Shea, says: “It’s clear Britain needs more homes but simply supporting developers to build lots of expensive market-rate housing won’t bring housing costs down to affordable levels for the millions of people trapped in poverty by sky-high rents. What renters really need is an ambitious public housing building program that delivers 3.1m council homes over 20 years and urgent action to fix the wild west private rented sector.”

“Britain’s 13m renters still face the constant threat of eviction, record rent rises and unsafe conditions. Our rigged housing system is a key cause of inequality.” 

“From Newcastle to Newham, all of us deserve an affordable home where we can live a good life with dignity. Promises to ramp up house building will take many years to deliver and people stuck in the private rented sector in the here and now urgently need proper protections from unfair eviction, eye-watering rent rises and dangerous disrepair. 

“Politicians across all parties are failing to tackle the power imbalance between landlords and tenants. They must listen to renters or risk deepening the crisis further.”

  • icon

    Simple want all this. No problem. Then buy your own house!

  • Simon Shinerock

    I guess they also want people to set their own price at the supermarket

  • James Scollard

    Sigh, who comes up with this dribble?

  • Raphael Phillips

    What a load of rubbish. If Landlords cannot make their rental work financially, they need to sell. Can tell you that as an agent, if we don't do as the client asks us, they will find someone else that will.

  • icon

    People forget, we have a duty of care to our client to advise of current market rent. I know of one agent who has a claim against them for not increasing rent or advising the landlord of what the current market rent is. It's not a decision for the agent - we are paid to provide advice.

  • icon

    Nonsense I am having to control landlords who are hearing in the news about rents increasing and want to put their properties up to the now market value which is just not feasible, I totally understand that interest rates have gone up and they need to cover monthly mortgage payments but as for us profiteering it is a lot of hard work


    Control landlords? You are their agent. You act, or at least you should, on their instructions. So glad you are not my agent.


    I'm the same, I can understand Landlords need to cover their extra costs, however a short term gain now can lead to losing a good tenant when they find somewhere cheaper. Or they fall into arrears for not being able to afford the new rent and the landlord has the costs and hassle of getting them out. Small but regular increases are better than sudden huge jumps.

  • Hit Man

    No mention of the real problem which is the excessive tax burdens and legislation thats already making landlords put rents up or leave the market. Throwing in the discrimination card and making out all tenants are victims is typical of these landlord bashing groups they ought to be ashamed of themselves.

  • Kieran Ryan

    What a load of old Tosh!! The same people banned tenants paying any kind of fees, introduce a minefield of legal requirements for agents to carry out, now there telling us NOT to increase rents?
    we dont see them telling british Airways to STOP increasing Air fares at peak months? Then dont critisise agents!!


    Do you seriously think a plane ticket is the same as a home?

  • icon

    I'm not surprised it's all the commission and one day they'll be more properties empty as people simply can't afford it..Driven by greed one day karma will catch up.


    Nice to see the GR representative on here, even if the comment is as wrong as can be.

  • icon

    I seriously think many commercial enterprise that increase charges do so unless it becomes a cartel. I note Tesco is reducing their profit on most items. No one is asking why now why not lobby government to tell these companies to cut their profit? It’s a human right to have food and water and fuel for your homes but no just lobby for landlords to cut their rent charge. Bearing in mind some landlords are actually losing money. Oh and don’t forget rent payments are optional tey that at sainsburys. Or tell them you will pay next week for your shopping, if you feel like it!

  • icon

    Err yes, its called Council housing, don't destroy even further what was a very well functioning private rented sector until Osborne started its path to destruction, you'll all be sorry when its gone and you are living in a crappy little government tent in a muddy field somewhere like a rainy Glastonbury but without the fun.


    There does need to be more council housing, not this 'affordable housing shared ownership' tripe that costs more to get less, but actual housing owned and leased by the Council for those who need it. Not illegal immigrants, or asylum seekers, and certainly not generational 'my grandparents rented this house from the council so I can stay here and pay half of nothing as that was the rent when they moved in' but an actual Council Rented Sector. Subject to the same rules and legislation as the PRS, with the same financial constraints regarding being taxed but only available to those who receive UC. Hopefully then they will see exactly what we are dealing with, and we can find a way for the market to run properly, with good quality, safe homes for everyone.

  • icon

    BTl, is a business simple as, people that can pay will and those that can’t won’t , free market

  • Roger  Mellie

    20 years ago landlords had all the power, today tenants have all the power. So these pressure groups have nothing to say and they're saying too loud. They shout about the problems, provide no solutions and expect someone else to sort it out. My advice to them, put some deodorant on.


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