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Activist claims “horrendous exploitation” by “profiteering” letting agents

The deputy chief executive of an organisation funded by the Nationwide Foundation claims to have suffered “horrendous exploitation” at the hands of lettings agents. 

Generation Rent’s Dan Wilson Craw - writing on the Left Foot Forward website - says: “Many of us who have tried finding a new place to live in the past couple of years have encountered horrendous exploitation at the hands of letting agents trying to wring every last drop of extra rent from the overheated market. Being asked to bid against other renters or offer multiple months’ rent up front is now commonplace.”

His article on the website - which describes itself as “a space for progressive ideas and values across and outside of parties” - the Generation Rent leader claims that thanks to high rents “young adults trying to start a career in a city are being turned away by landlords and letting agents and forced back to their parents’ homes, missing out on valuable opportunities at a pivotal time in their lives.”


Wilson Craw says landlords and agents can effectively name their price on rents and “threaten a Section 21 eviction” for existing tenants not wanting to pay, and he dismisses tribunal appeals because ”Section 21 trumps everything.”

He praises the nationalist government in Scotland for introducing a long-term system of rental control - now going through the Scottish Parliament - but is wary of Labour’s manifesto promises to enable tenants to challenge unreasonable rents.

He asks: “There is a huge question of what would constitute ‘unreasonable’. Surely, rent the tenant could not afford to pay, i.e. because their income had risen at a lower rate, would count – but it would be incredibly concerning if Labour’s commitment was simply to allow the existing tribunal system to step in once Section 21 goes, leaving the landlord’s ‘finger-in-the-air’ market rent as this benchmark instead.

“What would be fairer, and prevent renters needing to go through the extra bureaucracy of challenging rents, would be to place an annual limit on how much a landlord could raise the rent by, to the lower of wage growth or consumer price inflation. This would keep rents in line with affordability.”

He is also critical of Labour’s bid - just a few weeks ago - to amend the Conservative government’s ill-fated Renters Reform Bill to make landlords “advertise a single rent figure in advance and be prevented from creating or encouraging bids that exceed that price.” 

Wilson Craw writes: “It’s not by any means ‘rent control’ because ultimately landlords would set the rent when they advertise a property. And it would only tackle one symptom of the overall shortage of homes which is creating a seller’s market that invites this exploitation in the first place. But it would stamp out the worst profiteering by letting agents, and give tenants assurance that a property that looks affordable will be worth applying for.”

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    This guy is living in an unreal world. He will eventually get what he’s campaigning for which is….. No properties to actually rent and no letting agents to apply to then surely his problems will be solved. He will then go on to moan about Go Outdoors annual membership when he and millions of others go to buy a tent

  • Kristjan Byfield

    What Dan ignores, as always, is the reality that not everyone gets the property they want. Attacks on the PRS that he has spear-headed have also negatively impacted the marketplace. When you have 20 viable people for the same property, 19 people are going to be disappointed no matter how you pick and choose. The London market has been pretty 'normal' since the start of the year, so this insanely competitive market has cooled off. What Dan also fails to appreciate is that it is often the tenants offering more rent, offering advance payments, etc desperate to secure a home and stop searching.

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    Kristian, l believe you are correct. However l think you will find these organisations are really labour party fronts and reality does not apply. Labour is promising a lot of things that sound good, but are impossible. Basic communism !

  • jeremy clarke

    2022 - income £370,000, legal costs - £1,952, events (?) £23,355, marketing £25,087
    2023 - income £570,000, legal costs - £100,543, events (?) £55,562, marketing £59,970.
    They were sitting on reserves of £127,000.
    An organisation that winds up tenants to vilify landlords and is accountable to no one yet receives donations from lots of organisations??

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    Does Dan stick in my Craw have a landlord or is he a social housing tenant? does anyone know?

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    If you have funds in Nationwide, you are funding your own attackers!


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