Propertymark has reacted furiously to a video advertising campaign by Shelter.
Shelter’s campaign depicts a fictious lettings agency telling potential tenants about issues with properties.
These include mould, a lack of a boiler, contaminated drinking water, asbestos, as well as a live-in landlord who accepts sexual favours as rent.
A fictitious agent, played by comedian Rory Marshall, tells one tenant: “Pets welcome, we need all the pets we can get, because there is an infestation of rats.”
And with another he says: “It boasts buckets of charm – it also has buckets of excrement because there’s no toilet.”
Shelter then displays the text: “THESE ARE TRUE STORIES”.
The fictitious agent ends the video by saying: “Sure, cut a few corners and we don’t do things by the book, but it’s either take what you’ve got or go and live on the streets, so not really our problem.”
Propertymark’s has responded to the campaign with a lengthy statement.
Nathan Emerson, chief executive of Propertymark, said: “Shelter’s newest attack on letting agents is appalling. Their war on the private rented sector is one of the main reasons why tenants are now faced with very little choice, which is nonsensical given it is the country’s second largest tenure and they want to end homelessness.
“Shelter also wish to enhance standards in the sector, but 83% of tenants state they are satisfied with their properties and recent ONS figures show that investment in repairs and maintenance to private accommodation has seen all-time highs over the past 18 months. This is in stark contrast to the social sector that has seen investment in repairs and maintenance at the lowest levels since records began over the last two years.
“The private rented sector is regularly called upon to support the social housing sector, yet its value is being overlooked, undervalued and now ridiculed.
“Thousands of agents take pride in their work, are passionate about providing a good service and go above and beyond for tenants. Shelter’s narrow-minded attack undermines those professionals who work hard for their landlords and tenants.
“If Shelter truly wanted to ‘fix’ the ‘broken rented system’ they would engage with the sector to understand how to recognise good agents whilst removing the minority of bad ones.
“If Shelter supported us in our calls for the Regulation of Property Agents the sector may get some workable, tangible results.
“Letting agents want to see rogue agents that bring them into disrepute removed, Shelter want to see rogue agents removed. We have common goals to see a high standard sector, but that goal will not be realised in a childish war.”
The video ends with the text: “MILLION’S OF PEOPLE ARE AT THE MERCY OF A BROKEN RENTING SYSTEM. IT’S TIME TO FIX RENTING FOR GOOD”, before inviting viewers to sign a petition to fix renting.