Over the past few years, as prices have risen so substantially and generation rent have become increasing frustrated – it’s harder than ever to be an estate agent in London. Granted estate agents in London have never been very popular perhaps just above traffic wardens but of late as an industry we are often treated with contempt and malice.
Like in any profession there are sharks and people without morals operating in estate agency all across London. Many overvalue solely to win instructions knowing full well that they will not achieve asking price, many have a selection of random charges for both tenants, landlords and vendors.
The recent changes to legislation in regards to lettings fees having to be clearly displayed was welcomed by Greater London Properties, it gives the consumer more choice and does help to stop the more unscrupulous estate agent in London. The proposed lettings fee ban released in the autumn statement was not so welcomed by agents. I undertand why “generation rent” would welcome this change, however the government has made this hasty announcement before actually researching the implications of this measure. The cost associated with referencing a tenant will be passed onto the landlord which, from talking with some of our longest standing landlords – they will simply be charging back to the tenant by increasing rent.
What really should be done is full regulation of the sector to stop rogue agents from overcharging and giving all Estate Agents in London a bad name.
The announcement of the proposed lettings fee ban was a deflection of blame for the government. After all Estate Agents are not viewed in the best light and its easy for the London housing crisis to be blamed on us and stir up a hornets nest.
Should Estate agents in London be blamed for the housing crisis?
Like any market the prices are defined by the most simple economics of supply and demand. Should Estate agents in London be blamed for the housing crisis? In short the answer is no. The role of the Estate agent is to get the property to market at the correct price be it for sale or let. While some of the prices in Central London are eye watering even for the estate agent the market speaks time and time again. The price rises over the past 5-10 years have been phenomial In Soho, Covent Garden, Bloomsbury Marylebone and Fitzrovia but if applicants are willing to pay them that is not the agents fault, the demand has outripped the supply.
So seeing as estate agents in London are not responsible for building property just simply selling, letting and managing them who is to blame? The answer is successive governments both Labour and Conservative. Despite the mounting problems with the lack of supply year upon year the government has failed to even get close to the targets set by themselves to deliver homes for London.
If you have any questions about this topic or the property industry in general, feel free to call me on 0207 113 1066.
Rob Hill, Director, Greater London Properties
Estate agent London