It’s interesting to note that Rent Relief UK is now reporting record numbers of tenant and landlord fraud cases. There are many reasons for this, but one thing is clear – the old guard has no answers to these new challenges. In my opinion, it would be a mistake to blame rent authorities.

Landlords and tenants are used to behaving poorly, and it’s not surprising that they behave in a manner that causes problems for the authorities. Yet, where did all these other complaints come from? All too often, the complaints are coming from tenants and owners, not the authorities.

It’s obvious that some landlords are stealing money from their tenants. But it’s also clear that many landlords want nothing more than to get back their money – without spending any time thinking about the damage they’re doing to their own wallets. They’d rather steal the money from their tenants and make their lives miserable for a few months, then spend a couple of hours or days thinking about their own finances.

If the rent authorities were to follow through on the majority of these fraudulent claims, it could create problems for a market that does have strong market mechanisms. Many of the legitimate claims for rent relief will be withdrawn or denied by the courts, but the other legitimate cases can continue. This raises the question of who is going to pay the costs? Would a court order be enough to compel rent relief authorities to “stop the madness”?

I believe that in the long run, the government will continue to step in, to ensure that fair and equal rent compensation provisions are enforced in the UK. They’ve already stepped in to force the payments of VAT to tenants (the taxpayer paid for it). After all, I’d much rather be paying a good price for a good product, then being charged for a poor quality product, at the expense of the public purse.

So why should anyone bother contesting a valid claim for rental relief? Why not just accept the terms of rent increase and see the courts take care of the rest? These types of problems, whilst not very pleasant, are a one-off affair, but they can only become an all-too-frequent occurrence, if we don’t do something about them.

If we allow rent hikes to persist, they may grow to a stage where they no longer meet the minimum criteria needed for rent relief. If that happens, there will be few resources left to compensate those renters who don’t qualify for a rent reduction. The only winner in this scenario will be the landlords, who will be able to get higher rents in future.

The homeowner will find that he is suddenly in financial strength and will then be able to afford a few thousand pounds worth of repairs to fix the damage done to his property by neglect. When the dust settles, will you be the lucky owner, or will your landlord be left with an empty shell?

What is happening to responsible and irresponsible landlords in this country? Is it due to the ever-changing housing market? Is it due to a failure to implement rent regulations?

Are we going to end up in the same situation where landlords can make the smallest tenant pay thousands of pounds in the event of breach of security deposits? When is the last time you saw the tenancy agreement? If you don’t keep it, when will you start?

If we don’t control the rent market in the UK, it won’t matter how often the rules change. We’re still going to have the same amount of problems. We’re still going to be with the same problems that have been around for years.

If the law of supply and demand continues to permit lawful rent increases, there will be no need for emergency actions by the authorities. The only people who benefit from the UK’s rent problem are the landlords.

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