Agents blamed for surge in rents

Activist groups that represent tenants have accused letting agents of boosting their revenues by pushing up rents, making life harder for tenants in the process.

Rents on new tenancies have soared in recent month on the back of the widening supply-demand imbalance in the market as renters complete for limited housing stock.

Generation Rent and the London Renters Union have suggested that the frenzied market conditions were being fanned by landlords and their letting agents.

When tenants facing rent increases asked their landlords for an explanation, 17% cited letting agent advice as the reason for raising the rent, according to a survey of more than 1,000 renters in England conducted by Generation Rent.

That compared with 11% of landlords citing mortgage costs as the reason for increasing rent.

The survey found that a third of prospective tenants had been asked to attend mass viewings with other renters, a quarter were asked for multiple months’ rent in advance and a fifth had been told to bid up rents to secure a home.

Dan Wilson Craw, deputy director of Generation Rent, said rent increases were “symptoms of a market where there is a shortage of homes, but letting agents are making life harder for tenants, making the whole process more stressful” with competitive bidding processes and mass viewings.

Agents refuted the claims that their behaviour had distorted the market.

Greg Tsuman, letting director at Martyn Gerard and president-elect of trade body the Association of Residential Letting Agents, told the FT: “Prices are going up because of tenants competing and making competing offers.”

Guy Gittins, chief executive of Foxtons, added: “People want to see these properties. If everyone is fighting for the property, it’s stressful. Guess what, it’s stressful for the agent too, it’s not an environment we welcome.”

“We sympathise with the renters of London; it is a supply and demand dynamic that is not healthy,” said Gittins, adding that Foxtons was registering 18,000 tenants per week in the peak summer months.”

Michael Deas, a co-ordinator for the London Renters Union, said: “Rents don’t just go up — they are inflated by…  agents and the market reports they put out.”



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  1. Will2

    What claptrap. It is the very people making these allegations that have contributed to and caused rising rents.  These orgainsations and other so called housing charities plus the Government have been landlord bashing unrelentingly for years and years to the point they have over-played their hands. The have driven and continue to drive investors out of the private rented sector.  What happens when investors stop investing and sell their investments? you have a reduction in supply. What happens when supply reduces and demand increases? rents rise! This is basic economics. It is time these activist grow up and realise these are, to a significant degree, self inflicted wounds.  I am not an agent but agents have a legal and professional duty to advise clients of any offers they receieve. Tenants themselves drive the rent level by the market conditions they are the rent they are prepared to pay. Agents are acting for their clients to advise them of market conditions and what a landlord can achieve. IT IS THEIR JOB & THEIR DUTY. The Government and the activists still push on regardless with anti landlord demands and legislation. Once S21 goes they should not be surprised to see it all get much worse as even more landlords fatigued by constant attacks from activists, government, so called housing charities leave the market. These political activists are achieving their aim of destroying private rented housing. A home goal!

    1. MickRoberts

      Ha ha yes Will, They vote for an Anti Landlord policy which then either increases costs &/or cuts supply. Remaining Landlords have to charge what they can cause they don’t know where the next attack is coming from. As I read on, u say the same.

      1. Will2

        MickRoberts,  I guess one just has to say it “They are the Turkeys that voted for Christmas”!

  2. jeremy1960

    Do these idiots attend a special school for the stupid?

    If I had had such a poor education, I certainly would not be bringing it to everyone’s attention by publishing such rubbish!

    Perhaps one day if any of them have to get a proper job, someone will teach them some basic economics.

    1. Typhoon

      I bet half of them own properties they let out!!!!

  3. TDGC

    Makes my blood boil.

    1. These people clearly don’t understand the simple economics of supply and demand

    2. Agents have an obligation to advise their landlords on current market rents, and the landlord then decides what they want to do. We’ve had a mix of landlords who either don’t want to increase, increase by a token gesture, or increase in line with market rent. Their decisions, we simply advise. If we didn’t carry out our obligations, landlords could suggest we’re not doing our jobs and potentially sue for any loss.

  4. KByfield04

    As always, letting agents and landlords aren’t the enemy- the government is. A single-minded agenda to shrink the PRS whilst failing to deliver housing at a suitable scale and in an affordable way to offer tenants a viable alternative. Supply shrinks (260K properties gone from PRS in the last 7 years & 29 properties a day migrating to short/holiday lets).

    What has also been quickly forgotten is the suppressed rents so many landlords and agents took over the pandemic. I don’t see these groups defending poor landlords when rents dropped by 30% yet they see fit to demonise them now.

    Whilst some agents are driving up rents, that is our job- to ensure our clients receive the best possible return on their investment. That said, in our general experience this year, it has been tenants offering way over asking, desperate to secure a home and stop the exhausting house hunt competition.

    It’s time for these organisations to grow up and start having tough conversations with central and local government and stop attacking Landlords and Tenants. Many of the changes they have campaigned for have resulted in the exodus, and with more changes to come in the form of the RRB, this will do further damage.

    However, they won’t listen to reason and dismiss warnings as self-interested profit-mongering. I’d argue that they are probably the greatest risk to tenants at the moment- winning column inches but costing tenants choice and driving up costs. Rents will climb further next year, mark my words, and the blame will lie solely woth them and DLUHC.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Don’t hate the player, hate the game… (apparently I have to thank Ice-T for that quote).

    It is not possible to blame the agents.

    Reduced stock and high demand forces rents up.

    The agent would be derelict in their duties not to inform the landlord of this situation.  There are laws that say so!

    So the question we have to answer is who writes the rules for the game?

  6. Peanut

    And in much more accurate and exciting news, I’ve bought all my Christmas presents before Christmas Eve!

    1. JamesDB

      WHAT??? How… how is this possible?!


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