Letting agent CJ Cole has reportedly sent out a letter calling for all landlords in Southville to put their rents up because of Bristol's buoyant rental market.
The controversial letter has caused outrage across the country from concerned people who fear that the agent is encouraging the cashing in on people who simply can't afford to take that first tentative step onto the property ladder.
A petition has been started online entitled “stop CJ Hole exploiting the housing crisis in Bristol."
Agent CJ Hole sent the letter from the agent's Southville branch to the landlords who use their services, suggesting that it was "highly likely" that their properties were due an increase in rent. However, rumours have been circulating as to the authenticity of the letter. It has since been proved genuine.
MD of five offices for CJ Cole in Bristol (but not the Southville office) Chris Hill said on Twitter "I agree (with the petition) and have signed, my offices believe in good service as reason to use us, shame Southville have chosen this route. No office under my control sends these nor will ever."
The letter asks landlords "Are you getting enough rent? With rents increasing every week in Bristol, it is highly likely your property is due a rent increase. The demand from prospective tenants is far exceeding the number of available properties and we have never seen such a buoyant rental market."
The originators of the petition say "The letter shows how some estate agents and landlords are seeking to cynically profit from the housing crisis in Bristol at a time when inflation has declined to 0.3% and deflation is predicted.”
"I think there is no justification for increasing rents at a time when prices are actually going down. In addition, real average earnings have fallen by 8% every year since 2008.”
"Such predatory rental practices are an attack on low income people and threaten the most basic of rights – the security of a home to live in."