We asked for your experiences as part of our York’s Property Crisis series. Here, a former city letting agent explains why they quit the business
My office was in a prime York location. The business was doing well – we were busy and there was plenty of repeat custom.
Primarily I dealt in student accommodation. I often worked with students through their property journey. They might start in a shared house of, say, six. Then those same housemates would often split down to a group of three or four.
Later they could move on to a post grad course – or leave university, find a job in York, perhaps be in a relationship or want to share with friends. So they would be looking for a smaller property.
But then York’s property market, always popular, began to get more intense.
Two-bedroom homes became like gold dust. They would go for a ridiculous amount of rent.
For example, a two-bed property to students could be in excess of £300 more than if it were to be let as a residential property. It was ridiculous.
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More people were staying in the city but there weren’t enough properties to let to them. Premium rents again.
And student rents became ridiculously high. Landlords wanted more and more rent but some were spending less and less actually updating their properties.
No amount of asking them to do the right thing would change their approach.
Fears for young people
Next, there came the rush to build ‘student blocks’ in York. Developers wanted any land in YO10 or YO31 to build student accommodation.
This prompted a flood of enquiries from worried landlords who practically begged me to let their student houses.
- ‘As an asexual person, I can’t get on the property ladder in York’
- ‘Why should we ship out of York – the city where we were born?’
- ‘York is a really nice place. But the one thing missing is affordable housing’
They became desperate – now they had competition and state of the art student rooms they just could not compete with.
I told them they needed to update the houses if they expected the same rent if not more. Sadly some didn’t, and I was not prepared to take on their properties.
More recently we have seen the glut of AirBnBs in York. These are just everywhere and no one in the city has the time or resources to actual check if these landlords are ‘legally’ letting out rooms in their properties.
So it was time for me to move on to pastures – and businesses – new.
I don’t regret leaving the York property sector when I did. But I am still very concerned for the young people of York.
If all of their hard earned salaries goes on rent then any disposable income shall be zero – and they simply won’t have any quality of life.