Ever since the Tories proposed banning letting agent fees, agents like Savills and the Association of Registered Letting Agents have been pouring time and money into making sure the ban never sees the light of day.
Along with other companies, high-end letting Savills co-signed an open letter to government worrying that the consultation was becoming a ‘political issue’ and requesting its suspension until some undetermined point after the General Election (a week after? a year? five?).
We’ve been out in Hackney asking other people what they think about letting agent fees. Unsurprisingly, literally everyone we’ve spoken to has been wildly in favour of banning them! So we decided to show Savills and other that if they want to de-rail the ban on fees, they’re going to have a fight on their hands.
On Friday we took a rare jaunt out of Hackney to the Savills headquarters in central London. After meeting outside Hackney Town Hall and unveiling our beautiful new banners, we changed into clothes that we thought would seem appropriate in the offices of one of the largest publicly traded Real Estate firms in the UK. Then we hopped on the 55 bus down to Oxford Circus!
Our plan was to show Savills that if they intended to continue to take advantage of the housing crisis to burglarise us of our income, then we would burglarise them of their offices. How else could we get them to wake up to the suffering that that fees lead to than by holding their headquarters ransom over their busy lunchtime period?
Letting agents fees have gone up 60% in the last five years and there’s not limit on what agents can charge. Average fees in London are around £300, but they vary wildly, from £50 to £2,000 for the same services.
As we arrived, switched on our megaphone and began hearing from renters who’d been robbed by letting agent fees, it seemed the Savills letting agents were unwilling to speak to us.
“Get a job!”, to which the protester Emma, armed with the megaphone retorted;
“I have a job! And I have to spend all my wages on rip-off rents and fees so people like you can get rich.”
“You can’t really defend it, I suppose. If I’m honest, I can understand why people are angry.”
On the 2nd June, the government consultation over whether letting agent fees should be banned will close. Our friends at Generation Rent have made this quick online from so you can really easily feed in your thoughts. Click here to make your voice heard.
So come and help us to put them into practice by coming to our next meeting, 7-9 p.m. on Monday, 29 May, at the Kingshold Community Centre, Ainsworth Road, e9 7LP!