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Written by rosalind renshaw

One of the letting agents targeted last weekend by protesters in Haringey, London, has offered to meet them.

But Chris Bramham, director of Kings Group, said he defended his decision to lock the doors when the protesters arrived – as did four other agents.

He said: “We have a duty of care to members of the public visiting us, and to our own members of staff. The protesters arrived without notice, confrontational in a large highly-charged group and proceeded to aggressively stick their placards on our windows, post flyers, and try to enter as a group.

“People have a right to be in our office and carry on their business quietly and without interruption.

“However, I would be perfectly happy to sit down and talk to the protesters peacefully. I have no problem with that, but their demonstration was no way to go about gathering information.”

Bramham also said that in picking Kings, the protesters – who were demonstrating against high rents and claiming that agents were refusing to accept housing benefit tenants – had made a number of false assumptions.

“As it happens, we are one of the few agents that do accept housing benefit tenants – they represent a significant percentage of our business. But the protesters don’t seem to realise that this work is complex and can be difficult and time-consuming.

“For a start, there are often language difficulties, and a failure by some tenants to understand their responsibilities, which have to be explained and dealt with.

“It is also completely wrong to assume that it is agents who set the rent. It is the market that sets the rent, and the current market is all about the most incredible demand.

“If we as an agent were to tell a landlord who wanted a certain amount of rent that we would only market it for less, the landlord would simply go to another agent.

“Here in Haringey, as elsewhere, the market is fiercely competitive.”

For pictures of the demonstration, use the link below. It contains a further link with more pictures, showing the demonstrators outside a number of agents, including Kings.
 
http://london.indymedia.org/articles/13074

Comments

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    "Thats because its a non story in terms of the current economic problems the whole country is facing;"

    The wider context here is directly related to why the country is having economic problems though, wouldn't you agree? Too much cheap credit misallocated towards property, causing a bubble that cannot be allowed to burst in case it collapses the banking system? Record low interest rates as a result leading to higher inflation of imported items (eg fuel). Outcome - ongoing economic stagnation and a generation priced out of property ownership or even renting.

    Is this wider context also a non-story? Consider the age-group of most politicians, senior bankers and media executives in this country. Are they more likely to be property owners or priced out? Are they more likely to be tenants or landlords? Would they perceive the staus quo to be in their best interests or more likely to favour lower property prices? The pricing out of a generation isn't much of a story to them, because it's not their generation that's feeling the squeeze, in fact many are benefitting from the current situation (no coincidence that the damage that money printing is doing to pensions is now getting coverage though).

    Thus, one side of the debate is presented much more in the traditional media and by politicians, ie, pro high house prices. Move over to new media - the preferred means of communication for the under 40s, and both sides of the debate are given much more of an airing. Forums like this is the only place at the moment where these issues are really being given the weight they deserve, in my opinion.

    • 12 October 2012 14:57 PM
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    rantnrave said "Shelter is another of life's essentials that is becoming further and further out of reach for increasing numbers of this country's young people. None of the political parties even have this issue on their radar (older property owners vote in greater numbers). It has the potential to get much uglier"

    Thats because its a non story in terms of the current economic problems the whole country is facing; this isn't a nationwide crisis, this is a handful of activists wanting to hate against someone for something they want now but can't have

    • 12 October 2012 11:51 AM
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    yes,,rent your house to these sort of people? They dont play by the rules so why should we,,get a JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 11 October 2012 23:03 PM
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    This will be the tip of the iceberg if rents continue to rise faster than salaries. I don't condone violence, but there will come a breaking point if people continue to be priced out of both the buying and rental markets. The roots of the Arab Spring have been traced to people not being able to pay rising food prices. Shelter is another of life's essentials that is becoming further and further out of reach for increasing numbers of this country's young people. None of the political parties even have this issue on their radar (older property owners vote in greater numbers). It has the potential to get much uglier.

    • 11 October 2012 13:43 PM
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    I agree with Chris Bramham's response entriely and would have done exactly the same; mob rule should never be the first avenue to try.

    • 11 October 2012 13:15 PM
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    Why were these "protesters" not arrested for targeting specific property and people and also disturbing the peace?

    • 11 October 2012 12:01 PM
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    I'd have locked my doors too. Full marks for a sensible and proportionate response both at the time and afterwards.

    • 11 October 2012 11:29 AM
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    I support this man's decision to ensure the safety of his customers as well as his staff. The last thing he needs to be dealing with on top of protesters outside the office is a claim from somebody that has been injured on site. This is all about spin

    • 11 October 2012 09:24 AM
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    LOL these people are idiots

    • 11 October 2012 09:18 AM
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