Our industry is on its knees, agent tells Government – how much more can we take?

A leading agent has said that estate agency is currently on its knees.

Speaking ahead of the tenancy fees ban now just a fortnight away, Trevor Abrahmsohn said it was “taking another sledgehammer to the lettings market … the last straw.”

In a hard-hitting broadside Abrahmsohn, of Glentree Estates in London, asked how much more punishment agents can take “from this Tory government”.

However, Abrahmsohn did not confine his criticisms to the Conservatives, also hitting out at Labour’s “hate-fuelled stupidity” in wanting to end permitted development rights which allow offices to be turned into homes in a straightforward process.

He said this opposition to the creation of homes showed how “out of touch and incompetent they will be if they were ever to gain the reins of power”.

Abrahmsohn said of the ban: “Letting agents are not exactly high on anyone’s popularity list.

“However, like dung beetles or sewage workers, they do perform a necessary function.

“As always with bureaucratic interference, a busybody’s desire to help the ‘vulnerable’ ends up as the economic version of playing the piano with boxing gloves, where the cure can often be worse than the ailment.”

He said that the inevitable consequence “will be higher rent levels for impoverished tenants”.

He said that landlords are currently being forced to offload their properties “thanks to meddlesome tax changes”, despite high tenancy demand.

Abrahmsohn attacked former Chancellor George Osborne for his “foolish” tampering with Stamp Duty, saying it had created a “DIY recession” in residential values.

He went on: “Taking another sledgehammer to the lettings market is the last straw.

“These vexatious politicians have forgotten that a reasonably buoyant residential property market is essential to healthy UK growth.

“The Government should not constrain demand but instead increase the housing supply for both the rental and sales markets.

“These draconian measures will hit the vulnerable just where it hurts most, in their pockets.

“Note to the housing minister: stop this interfering and meddling – you are not doing the consumer any favours.

“Isn’t there something else that you can do to busy yourself, like solving the Brexit problem?”

x

Email the story to a friend

36 Comments

  1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

    Quite right Mr Abrahmsohn…but doubtless your astute points will be roundly ignored…
     
    Pre- Tenant fee ban:
     
    *ring ring, ring ring*
     
    Agent: “Good morning, ACME lettings, how can I help?”
     
    Tenant: “Yes, good morning. I live at 3 Albert Square and I’m having problems using my thermostat. Can you help?”
     
    Agent: “Absolutely, let me just bring up the details and I’ll be more than happy to help…”
     
    Post- Tenant fee ban:
     
    *ring ring, ring ring*
     
    Agent: “Good morning, ACME lettings, how can I help?”
     
    Tenant: “Yes, good morning. I live at 3 Albert Square and I’m having problems using my thermostat. Can you help?”
     
    Agent: “Absolutely. Do you have the internet?”
     
    Tenant: “Yes”
     
    Agent: “Great….Go to Google, and type in exactly what you’ve just asked me- that should do the trick!”
     
    Tenant: “What? Why can’t you just tell me”
     
    Agent: “We can’t afford to explain norcan we afford the internet in this location…have a lovely day”

    Report
    1. CountryLass

      Admittedly, I already tell Tenants to try using Google for pressure top ups and boiler instructions, as I’m not going to make the Landlord pay to get someone to teach them how to use it. If they want an engineer to visit, they can but they will be the ones paying for it!

      Report
      1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

        Hi Countrylass,
        As a small cautionary note, I would be VERY careful about suggesting that Tenants should try and fiddle with boilers (other than pressing reset perhaps[?])… as common-sense seems to be a thing of the past, one ill-thought out adjustment by a Tenant who fancies themselves as a bit of an amateur Gas Safe engineer…and boom! Their loss of an arm may cost you/your Landlord an arm (and most probably a leg!) in compensation…and your/ your Landlords’ insurers will none too pleased either…
         
        But, as you say…if you want a lesson in how to use your boiler, there are plenty of qualified folk who will happily oblige…”try Google”!
        Have a lovely day

        Report
        1. Bless You

          Where and when and how did he tell this to the government?

          was he talking to pie or is there someone somewhere in the land of stupid street in parliament who actually listens?

          Report
        2. CountryLass

          Hi Eyereaderturnedposter12 It’s only if the pressure is low or if they don’t know how to change the timer or settings, not for anything else! Most instruction manuals tell you how to re-pressurise them, so if there isn’t a book I advise them to Google the boiler model. If it drops again a day or so later then I’ll get an engineer out obviously, as that could mean there is a leak somewhere, but for a one off I don’t see the issue. Same as an oven, if you can’t figure out how to change the time or a bulb, I’ll tell you to google it. It’s what I do at home, and I managed to strip my tumble-dryer down with my husbands help a few weeks ago! Wouldn’t advise a Tenant to do that though, that goes without saying.

          I physically couldn’t re-pressure my old boiler as it required strength I didn’t have as I was too scared I would break it, so the first time I got the chap who fitted it a couple of days before to come back (they did it for free as part of their after care) and after that I left it to mu husband as at least that way it wasn’t my fault if it broke!

          Report
          1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

            Hi CountryLass,
             
            Fair enough. My point is more about suggesting a Tenant should do anything with an appliance (other than use it as intended!) could be risky, as a misjudgement by a Tenant attempting to ‘tamper’, could be construed as being encouraged by the agent (and thus potentially landing either the LL or Agent, in ‘hot water’)…
             
            Have a lovely afternoon. 
             
            P.s. Good work with the tumble-dryer…I wouldn’t know where to start 😉

            Report
            1. CountryLass

              Oh, there was a lot of swearing and cursing involved, and at one point I had even got online and put a new one in my basket I was so annoyed! CountryKid and CountryBaby go through a lot of clothes so not having a tumble-dryer was going to be a nightmare. We still have no idea what the nose was, but it stopped after we rebuilt it so I’ve carried on using it!

              Report
  2. jackoTLG

    Well said!!

    Report
  3. Mark Connelly

    A pretty accurate synopsis.

    Report
  4. NewsBoy

    I’m so glad a retired last month!

     

    Report
    1. ARC

      Alright no need to rub it in! Enjoy a long and happy retirement.

      Report
      1. Rickman2154

        Shame this wasn’t written by Property mark?? ( NAEA) Where is their voice in all this?? what a well written article.

        Report
  5. kittygirl06

    Yes BTL landlords have to sell or go bankrupt thanks to Section 24.

    What other business now will have tax rates of over 100%

    Amber Rudd stated

    I am worried that an insidious notion is being allowed to infect Britian that wealth is something that is never deserved. That whatever th risk someone has taken. Whatever the hard work they have put in it is subject to suspicion.

    I think this anti success attitude is hughly damaging…

    The government has beaten BTL landlords black and blue and been responsible for much of the hatre shown against the sector.

    Many BTL landlords have taken risks used their savings and worked hard to try and be self sufficient only to be taxed to death.

    A treasury which spouts out rubbish to try and justify an. Unjustifiable tax.

    Regs bought in that for the slightest mistake you face crippling fines.

    Now they want to take away are property rights with the removal of section 21.

     

     

     

     

    Report
    1. James Wilson

      This is complete inaccurate.  For years BTL landlords operated on a totally unqual and unfair basis.   You call them “businesses” but of course they are NOT businesses.   If you want to be taxed like a company then form a company.  If you have a company then you can deduct interest charges all you like.   But it is not fair to own property as a private individual and be allowed to deduct interest if you are a BTLer and not if you are an owner/occupier.  

      Report
      1. MrSerious

        Um, forgive me if I have completely misunderstood you James, but you certainly don’t have to form a [Limited] Company in order to run a business, e.g. BTL.  Many (most?) one-man businesses (e.g. many/most private BTL landlords) are Sole Traders, often running amalgamated bank accounts.  Non-incorporated people, simply trading services or goods.

        Therefore, I suggest that you have hold of the wrong end of the stick, if this is indeed a serious posting.  Unless, of course, you are simply making a mundane, socialist-politico petition that “All property is theft!” ?  In which case you will be ignored.

        Report
        1. LetItGo

          James is a tenant who doesn’t work very hard i guess:-)

           

          Report
      2. kittygirl06

        Government called BTL a business 17 times ref Section 24.

        Homeowners don’t pay tax on their mortgage or CGT at 28%.

        Letting a property out you have regs, maintenance, accounts, on call 24/7, refurbishments 100% council tax when empty

        Fines of 30000. of course its a business and not an easy one.  Interest is a deductable expense of doing business regardless if in a company structure

         

        Report
    2. PossessionFriendUK39

      Hi Kittygirl,

      I’m interested in the source of the Amber Rudd quote, if you can help please.

      Report
  6. JamesB

    100% accurate .. but when there is vital generation rent votes at steak that means nothing 

    Report
  7. cyberduck46

    >Abrahmsohn said of the ban: “Letting agents are not exactly high on anyone’s popularity list. Like dung beetles or sewage workers, they do perform a necessary function

     

    I didn’t realise dung beetles and sewage workers were unpopular.

    Report
    1. J1

      About as smelly though

      Report
    2. PeeBee

      “I didn’t realise dung beetles and sewage workers were unpopular.”

      Mr Abrahamsohn didn’t say they were, ducky.

      Report
  8. James Wilson

    Just a stream of ramblings … he doesn’t even make a coherent argument.

    Report
    1. spin2009

      At least you have something in common.

      Report
    2. forwardthinker

      ???

      Report
  9. TheLettingsGuy

    Well said sir!

    Report
  10. Bigbee73

    At least he’s trying to defend the Industry, there’s no point in putting him down, there should be more like him! If we all pulled together and seriously pulled together, we would have a collective voice. I am not suggesting we should start blocking bridges but there will come a time when there aren’t enough of us to form a church choir!

    What exactly is Propertymark doing? may be Rightmove, Zoopla et al could get involved? seems like everyone is out for themselves, too happy to put others down, instead of doing whatever little they can.

     

    Rant over…….

    Report
    1. ARC

      I’ll stick to herding cats, it’s much easier.

      Report
    2. PossessionFriendUK39

      I don’t know so much about ‘ blocking bridges ‘  it worked  for and got attention by Extinction Rebellion,  and lets be fair the PRS isn’t nearly vocal or cohesive enough.

      Report
  11. WiltsAgent

    It’s no longer news that this Tory government is a complete shambles and total incompetent, a rabble being led over a cliff. They have completely distorted the property market with stamp duty, Help to Buy, and onerous legislation in the letting sector. George Osborne and the parade of third rate housing ministers should hang their heads in shame.

    Report
    1. ARC

      Ah yes, but the alternative is considerably worse I’m afraid.

      Report
      1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

        Agreed WiltsAgent/ARC…

        I had a pet Hamster who sadly passed away in 1989, his name was ”Diesel”… I suspect he would do a better job of running this country (even in his current, slightly deteriorated condition) than the current crop of politicians…

        Report
        1. PeeBee

          Condolences for your loss, Eyereaderturnedposter12.

          Report
          1. Eyereaderturnedposter12

            Thank you Peebee…
            😉

            Report
  12. Woodentop

    What does the future hold? Does the current and proposed regulatory requirements make it near impossible for a new letting agent to come into the market? You need a large portfolio just to cover costs, before you can earn.

    Report
  13. AgentV

    Don’t think a zombie government on life support can think about much else than surviving to the next day.

    Report
X

You must be logged in to report this comment!

Leave a Reply

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.