Letting agents shut whilst tenants stage street demo

Protesters held an ‘inspection’ of local letting agents on Saturday to draw attention, they said, to high rents, short-term tenancies, discrimination against housing benefit claimants and agents’ high fees.

The protest apparently resulted in some agents shutting their doors while it was taking place.

The demonstration was held in Green Lanes, Haringey, London, by the local housing action group and other activists belonging to Haringey Solidarity Group and Haringey Private Tenants Action Group.

Of nine agencies visited, five reportedly refused to allow the 20 self-styled ‘community housing inspectors’ access or to speak to the protesters.

The five named on Indymedia UK were Winkworth, Kings Group, Bairstow Eves, Brian Thomas and Anthony Pepe.

Four unnamed agents agreed to answer the group’s questions, including whether they accepted housing benefit tenants; how many months of deposits they require; what charges they make to tenants; and what is the longest tenancy period they offer.

According to Indymedia’s report: “The protest felt like a huge success.

“We managed to gather information that will be of help to prospective tenants (the information will be made publicly available) and we put across our demands to the letting agent staff, as well as to hundreds of passers-by, many of whom told us of their own bad experiences of local letting agents.

“We also shut down a handful of letting agents, possibly the ones who felt they had more to hide.

“And we turned the tables on letting agents who carry out checks on our homes without permission.”