Inflation Flat, Rents Soaring And Letting Agents Are Still Whining

Apart from the justifiable anger at private landlords profiting massively from an acute housing shortage, Johnny Void calls attention to their complaint about Labour possibly damaging their profits by introducing fixed term tenancies for three years. Possibly. This seems an extremely mild measure, but nevertheless it’s enough to have them foaming at the mouth. Of course, Mr Void’s correct: it is a bluff. One cannot imagine many of them now pulling out of the letting agency, not when they would have to pay the mortgage on multiple properties. If they did, some would surely be forced to sell them, which would actually mean that house prices should, in theory, start going down. And they really, really wouldn’t want that.

But Johnny Void is right: what is needed is more council housing. Sibrydionmawr also makes good points in his comment discussing why tenants aren’t like customers, who have a right to withhold payment for shoddy goods, and about the effect of rent controls and secure tenancies. These would make much of the letting industry uneconomic, and should lead to more houses coming on to the market. Which would be good for the homeless, but not for the whining landlords Mr Void rightly castigates here.

the void

chicago-rent-strike1On the same day it was reported that inflation had dropped to 0% a report from the Association of Residential Letting Agents (pdf) gleefully announced that rents are rising due to soaring demand for housing.
31% of letting agents reported rent increases between January and February with rises highest in the South East and “intense competition” for housing in London. Even the language used reveals a private rental sector that is broken beyond repair.

Tenants are customers, they should not be in competition for housing, landlords should be in competition for tenants. Even by the vile standards of a free market run rampant that is how it is supposed to work. No-one is in competition to shop at fucking Tesco. And yet even during this boom time for letting agents and landlords they can still find something to complain about.

The report warns that 70% of letting agents say landlords…

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