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?”