Brighton lettings agency slammed for letter urging landlords to raise their rents

Posted On 16 Mar 2016 at 5:35 pm

Brighton students living in “overpriced” housing have hit out at a letter sent by a city lettings agency urging landlords to sign up with them so they can hike their rents.

Student letter from Harringtons
The letter, sent by senior negotiator Emma Gretton, said it had helped landlords put up rents by as much as £334 a month – although the agency later blamed this on Government changes to mortgage relief.

But the letter has provoked a storm of outrage from students, who say pushing landlords to rise rents even further when Brighton’s housing market is already overheated is immoral.

The letter, sent out last week, reads: “We are in desperate need of more student properties to let as we are currently already starting to let our properties for 2016.”

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It then boasts of how it has raised rents by up to £334 a month, from £3,033 a month to £3,367 a month saying “these are real rents being achieved for our landlords this month”.

One Brighton student said: “”Its like targeting a robbery gang and telling them they’d extort more from the poor if they carried knives and hid behind an anonymous syndicate on 10% commission.

And another added: “They are frightened that greedy landlords will go to other agencies that will extort more rent from tenants. Brighton needs an ethical agent that looks after both the interests of the tenants and the landlords.

“Landlords get enough money from the increase in the price of the property over the years without making a killing on rents too.”

After the letter was posted on Facebook, an account in the name of Harrington’s Lettings replied: “We don’t have a large portfolio of student accommodation but we do have a few on our books and we appreciate there is a limit to what students can afford but there is also a limit on the minimum landlords need to make it viable for them.

“The market has dictated that rents have gone up dramatically, and our actions are in response to what the other student providers in town our telling us.

“Unfortunately the Government removing mortgage relief for landlords has put a lot of them in the position that they are unable to sustain their current rents.

“The only way they can keep their property is to put up rents or many will be forced to sell, reducing the number of properties available when there is already a shortage.”

  1. Richard Reply

    Is this really a story? Rents are going up, steadily, because there is more demand than Brighton and Hove can currently supply. It’s simple market economics.
    We have two universities who are successful in attracting students. More and more students being invited to come to our city without the university supplying suitable accommodation options. This is bound to put pressure on the system and rents are bound to rise.
    The anonymous quotes from the ‘students’ are embarrassing: the analogy to “knife carrying gangs” is obviously ridiculous and landlords wanting to maximise a return on their investments seems logical (I expect many of the current student population would like such returns when they mature….).
    PS don’t the agents work for landlords, so they have a responsibility to do the best for them?

    • Alex Reply

      I have heard more than a few horror story about agencies being particularly unreasonable with returning any sort of deposits and adding fees that were totally unjustified. The rental market can be an ugly place and not just for students I’m afraid.

    • Luke Reply

      Every person has a right to affordable property. Students are under enough pressure with having to pay for their own education without having to have yet more strain placed on them with extortionate rent. It’s ludicrous how we don’t have a cap on rental prices. As someone who rents, I’ve seen and lived in property’s worse than things should ever be allowed to get and paid through the nose for the privileged. The fact is that our property market is out of control, and this is just another example of how profiteering estate agents are screwing the little guy!

  2. Bob Reply

    Does Richard work for Harringtons?? I’ve heard (from an unhappy employee of theirs) that a lot of their ‘positive’ reviews on other sites are written by their own staff/friends. They are a truly awful company – in many, many ways. Yes, Richard, they work for landlords, but they – omg, isn’t this so shocking(?) – also work for tenants… Both landlords and tenants are their clients, and the agent needs both of them to run a viable business… Word of this getting out is then really, really bad PR for Harringtons – which is presumably why you want to defend them Richard, you lackey. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say!

  3. Mary Reply

    This is indeed a story. The quotes from students are embarrassing only for the reason that they are true.
    This particular agency has made it it’s own personal business to get as much money out of their tenants (both students and private)as well as from the landlords. They claim to look out for the interest of the landlords for a reasonable price, but actually fail to do so. They charge ridiculous prices for general maintanance of the properties and are very slow in getting things done.
    While the landlords are treated with some “respect”, the tenants will have to make due with aggressive correspondence and threats if the rent is a mere one day late.
    It is appalling that estate agents are allowed to conduct business in this manner and I feel they should be regulated a lot better.

  4. Pomy Collingwood Reply

    Estate agents are spoiled kids ( most of them are psychopaths too ) who live off making people feel low & making them homeless with a stroke of a pen. They basically playing some sort of a god deciding to take people in or chuck them out. Those agencies like syndicates that drain humans for their last drop of blood and indirectly responsible for a good old chunk of suicides. Those who work for estate agencies do not possess an ounce of moral, not much different from those on death row. They’re seriously ill and not in understanding that their greed and push for comission is ruining families, students and elderly who actually work for the money. Those kids sitting behind the desks of the shops are utterly useless and I am still not clear about the qualification they have, since most of them can’t even hold a conversation and I read many papers from them which contains so badly written info that it questions if they can actually spell. Primitive freaks, shameful creeps. Nothing more to say, nothing to take back!

  5. Martyn Reply

    I am a landlord in Brighton. I would not dream of allowing a letting agent of mine to behave in this way. All landlords should be aware of their social and moral obligations and they should always carefully consider changes that they implement. The fact is that landlords have significant legal powers at their disposal and this means we should be careful and considerate when using them.

  6. Mia Reply

    Having been a student in Brighton, and lived there for eight years, I totally agree that the attitude of local estate agents is smug, superior with a bullying air. They need to be better regulated as this sort of evidence shows that they are not bound by any sort of moral compass: Yes, there is high demand; but that does not necessitate an out-of-control inflation of rent prices, particularly when it is clear that this is to the utmost detriment of young vulnerable students. Despicable move on Harringtons part – shame on them.

  7. S i Reply

    are you kidding me? have the students check out bath university accomodation. Bath is now huge on corporate students accomodation and paying over the nose for a room with the uni and corporate accomodation from over 500 a month with some paying 800 and 1000 a month for a studio flat. yet they are imposing hmo fees and extra regulatin costing more money and yet prs are cheaper than uni and corporate students pad and yet the LA are not imposing extras on bath uni or corporate student housing. in fact, they are now building more

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