Thursday, 8 August 2013

Now I’m Being Asked to Encourage My Own Rent Increases

I have little tolerance of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) process which is nothing short of a scurge in this great country of ours.  Having now just completed my annual AST dance which goes something like:

  1. An email is received from the “Property Manager” of the Local Lettings Agent.  “Dear RIT.  Your current AST is due to expire.  Therefore if you want to stay in your current rental accommodation it’s time to renew.  The Landlord is looking to increase the rent by (insert a large random number based on no facts here).  Additionally we will be looking to extort a renewal fee of (insert a smaller random number again based on no facts here).”  I know they are also taking at least 12% of every month’s rent from my Landlord as they are so incompetent that they have occasionally sent me the Landlords monthly Statement so I’m assuming they’re also extorting renewal fees from that direction as well.
  2. I then do some research and find out what rentals of a similar type as mine are going for in my area.
  3. I send an email in reply which goes something like.  “Dear Property Manager.  Having now conducted local market rental price research for similar properties and in recognition of our long standing respect for the property which keeps the Landlords costs down (which I know all your tenants can’t claim) plus an untarnished record of continued on time payment of rent (which I also know all your tenants can’t claim) I believe a fair rent is (insert current monthly rental amount here) or (insert current monthly rental amount minus a few £'s here)."
  4. This then results in some “healthy” negotiation until eventually they play the eviction threat card which goes something like “I want you out by (insert a date 2 months in the future here) and will be sending you a Section21 notice immediately.”
  5. At this point I know I am close to the lowest rental amount possible.  This has in the past resulted in rent decreases, increases or freezes.  Unfortunately this year it was a 2.1% increase.

It was with much amusement that I today received a badly torn envelope in the post which had another local Lettings Agents name poking out and was addressed to:
     Private & Confidential: Please Forward
     The Legal Owner(s)
     RIT’s Flat Number
     RIT’s Street Number

It was obviously a flyer and unfortunately I wasted a valuable minute to read it:
     Dear Sir/Madam
     Following a very busy period, we have applicants waiting for quality properties to rent in your
     area.  ... can offer you professional advice and provide the following:

  • Rent and Legal Protection Available
  • Excellent rents achievable due to extensive marketing
  • ...
  • Tailor-made service
  • X Local branches with local expertise

     Yours faithfully,

I must admit it initially made be chuckle.  Just how Tailor-made can you make a service which does nothing but act as a Landlord to Tenant intermediary?  Additionally, if a local Letting Agent doesn't have “local expertise” I'm not sure what they have to offer.  Then the bare faced cheek of asking me to “... Please Forward” a letter which could lead to either a rent increase or my eviction hit home for a couple of seconds before the letter was placed in an appropriate place.  The Rubbish Bin.


  1. I am a landlord and I can't understand why people use letting agents . they just seem to add to the problems for the landlord and the tenant.
    I normally set the rent at just bellow market rent for good tenants and as high as I can for the occasional bad tenant.
    Setting rent to high just makes people look elsewhere.

  2. This is the UK's "dynamic and fast growing" service sector in action

    Other elements include financial and legal services etc.

    It looks okay on a GDP schedule as the amount of revenue it generates goes up every year

    In reality its just parasitic off the general population and is reliant on a steady stream of foreign investment and immigration to keep the game going as the general population can only be milked so much

  3. "I can't understand why people use letting agents": in our case it was because we were abroad.

  4. I'm on the other side of the equation. I got into letting accidentally through personal circumstances (being abroad for one thing), not as a business. I use an agent because I don't have the time to manage my property myself, nor the time or ability to assess tenants or evict them if necessary. Haven't had a rent increase for 2 years. AST doesn't seem very secure for a tenant.