Agents in flood-hit Cumbria are working flat out to help people forced out of their homes and a number are offering their services free.
Some agents have also seen their own homes and business premises wrecked.
There is also upset that one agent, Cumbrian Properties, tried to hike fees to tenants in the wake of the terrible events.
While the agent has apologised, the story was widely picked up by the media.
Yesterday evening, Simon Leigh, of Hackney & Leigh in Kendal, told EYE: “Unfortunately there has been some more bad press for our industry.
“I thought it might be nice to point out that not only were we out and about helping people move, tidy up, organise repairs, source dehumidifiers etc, but as part of our efforts to find homes for those affected, we have gone in the opposite direction from Cumbrian Properties and are not charging tenants caught up in the flooding any fees at all.
“We have sent out an update to everyone with all our available properties, and are talking to our vendors about possibly letting any empty houses.”
The firm has also donated £5,000 to the flood recovery fund.
BPK Estate Agents has also waived fees for landlords and tenants, saying: “We are here to help the flood victims get back on track”.
The firms says on its website: “We have decided to waive admin fees and any landlord costs for any tenant who has been a victim of the recent flooding in Carlisle and surrounding villages, and any landlord who lets a property to such a person.”
It, like other agents, is appealing for landlords with empty properties to come forward, and asking tenants to register their requirements.
It promises both landlords and tenants that it is an entirely free service for both.
BPK adds: “Our families too have experienced first-hand the effects of the floods, and indeed the BPK Solicitors office in Cockermouth has flooded again.
“We know what you are going through and our thoughts are with you.
Hayward Tod, in Carlisle, said it has let 20 homes in two days and desperately needs more.
More rain fell yesterday, with more forecast over the coming weekend.
Estate agents in the disaster region are said to be urging clients selling vacant houses to hand them over for rent.
Second-home owners are also being urged to make their properties available for flood victims.
Around 6,500 home owners are affected plus an unknown number of businesses.
Grisdales estate agents in Cockermouth is one that today, between 4pm and 8pm, will be supporting ‘Cockermouth by Candlelight’, a local Christmas parade and fund-raiser.
The firm says on its website: “The Cockermouth by Candlelight team did not take the decision to hold the event lightly, as we know that there are many families that the flood has left homeless and distraught. It is for this reason that any profits raised from the event will be donated to the Cumbria 2015 Flood Appeal.”
The Government has pledged just £50m to help the Cumbrian victims whose homes and businesses have been hit.
This is a fraction of the £5.8bn bill UK taxpayers pick up for climate change projects abroad.
Adrian Tod, from Hayward Tod Estate Agents, in Paternoster Row, Carlisle, said: “All of our three and four bedroom properties have gone and we desperately need family homes.
“Our phone lines are constantly ringing. At times, the calls are coming in so fast that we can’t get a line out.
“Sadly, there’s a lot of desperation out there. We let 20 homes in two days.
“People are going around all the estate agents and finding there’s nothing left.
“We’ve been contacting some absentee vendors with vacant properties and asking whether they’re willing to let their property on a six-month tenancy. Some are.
“There are lots of vulnerable and desperate people out there and it shows on their faces – and in their tears.”
He said his staff have seen many homeless families, clutching the possessions they could save.
Rachel Ritson is managing director of Grisdales Estate Agents, which has branches in Whitehaven, Workington, and Cockermouth, the latter having been flooded.
She said: “There’s been a significant increase in demand. We’re trying to turn things around as quickly as possible. But there’s a great spirit: people have been in touch with us to offer properties for flood victims.”
Gordon Adamson, from Northwood Estate Agents in Carlisle, said yesterday: “Every property we had to let went [on Monday]. We were left with just one this morning. The phones are ringing non-stop.”
“We opened at 6am on Monday and were moving in our first tenants by noon because we’d managed to do all the references.”
* You can donate by Just Giving http://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/cumbriafoundation/cumbriafloodappeal2015
Or by sending a cheque made payable to Cumbria Community Foundation and sent to CCF, Dovenby Hall, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 0PN.
Or send a text to 70070 with the message ‘FLUD15’ and a monetary amount. For example, ‘FLUD15 £10