When landlords let a property, there are two ways to go.
One owner visited all the letting agencies, who in turn visited with their clipboards (parking the inevitable Smartcar outside. Incidentally, does anyone else think they only use these to provide a genuine excuse for not giving tenants a lift…)
Anyway. The various agencies assessed how much money the flat would make. Every visiting agent asked how much their predecessor and brother-agent had suggested, before telling the landlord they would make it their life’s goal to rake in even more money, and that the previous estimate was too low. With cartoon pound signs rolling in their wide and bloodshot eyes, they cranked up the rent. They all did. All of them – even if was by £5, they suggested he could make more money than their cautious, clueless predecessor promised.
Now, the landlord is a human being, and fell for it. Little was said about the state of the place: no matter that the place was unfurnished, situated in the badlands, in need of renovation. Nothing about the aging, heritage décor, or lack of facilities - no the rent was going to be so high that the landlord would roll around naked in tenners and bling, feasting upon foie gras wrapped in gold leaf.
The owners were going abroad, so couldn’t feasibly manage the property themselves. Since they emigrated, the flat has regularly been empty, and prospective tenants have even made contact with the absentee owner (via friendly neighbours) to suggest reducing the rent. It is empty now, and the owner has never dined upon diamond encrusted quails eggs. In despair, a former tenant organised repairs, hiring the landlord’s relatives, where appropriate. What exactly does the letting agency do here?
Elsewhere, another landlord wishing to rent out his property was visited by a brace of letting agents (a swoop?) and listened in awe to the money he could make. Later on, after some sweet and fleeting dreams of easy wealth, he woke up. Interestingly, he was about to rent a place by the seaside, and realised the letting agents were talking crap (you can tell by my elegant phrasing that I am wordsmith, can’t you?) and, brandishing a crucifix, he said to the letting agents: get thee gone.
He let’s the flat himself, renting to people he trusts and likes. Mates recommend contractors for repairs, or sometimes do the work themselves. The rent is reasonable, so tenants want to stay, not move out at the earliest opportunity. Nobody bothers anyone, as he knows what it’s like to be a tenant, since he is one himself. He wants what will one day again be his actual home to be looked after, but never bothers tenants, and arranges days – even weeks in advance before he comes to call in person.
This is why rents are rising. Rents are rising because…prepare for a sharp shot of obvious, but people are forever putting up rents – a self-serving and damaging process in this time of low interest rates, and it can’t go on forever.