Letting agents – do they, like - get it yet?
Are they finally getting the message? The boos and raspberries about their bizarre, random, money-sucking fees and dubious soul-crushing behaviour have reached such a high level that even Labour are listening. Well, I say listening, when I mean making discreet harrumphing sounds and demanding ‘transparency’, which will hardly have those letting-leeches quaking with fear.
Say it loud - do letting-agents get it yet?
Several London based community private tenant groups, like Digs-Hackney Renters are following Edinburgh Private Tenants Group and staging humorous performative interventions and protests outside notoriously loathed firms like Foxtons. Dressed as the Monopoly board character, complete with lustrous false moustaches, they blockaded the office and were cheered on by passers-by – fellow victims, no doubt. Foxtons were so scared they replaced their staff with bouncers for the day.
I shall repeat the question – do letting agents get it yet?
Every one who encounters them in any way, from landlords, to councils, and of course and especially tenants are sick of their antics. They really are universally despised, for undermining security, shameless profiteering, bare-faced evasion of repairs and justifiable expenditure, but especially for STILL driving those hugely irritating, logo-tastic smart-cars.
But still I wonder - do they get it yet?
They must change their ways. Stop refusing to house claimants. Stop escalating rent prices. Stop being ill-informed and incompetent (my own benighted Landgirl was informed of an important change in regulations not by her soon-to-be-former agents, but by me.) Stop enabling and encouraging those harmful rarities beloved of headline writers, namely rogue and dodgy landlords, to harass and intimidate tenants with spurious ‘inspections’ so as to scare them out in lieu of legal notice.
Do they get it yet?
You are being outshone, rendered irrelevant and obsolete by online portals who charge a little for a lot. Tenants despise you, councils hate you, and yet you appear like Japanese knotweed all over the nations High Street, with high-tech water coolers, high-end magazines, and spurious claims in your windows (and yes, the Scottish agents who falsely claims to be licensed by ARLA - I mean YOU.)
Do you get it yet? Charging for photocopied forms, bullying tenants who ask reasonable questions and refusing to budge when you know they are correct in law. Any party that enacts effective legislation to reign you in will win votes – and there are so many renters in the UK.
Anywhere near to getting it? Letting agents have always been with us, but why are there so many now? Slyly oozing into the ears of nervous buy-to-let landlords like slippery snakes – ‘You can trust us. We only want to help before flipping the whole renting process into web of complication which only ever works to their benefit is their major sin.
Seriously: letting-agents, you are simply a wasteful, harmful anachronism. People never know from one month to the next whether they will have a home, you push up rents and form a layer like scum floating at the top of and contaminating the property market infecting daily life for millions. Do you get it yet?