A group of anti-landlord activists has used an incident involving an estate agency publicity leaflet as a reason to accuse all landlords of “moral bankruptcy.”
The JP & Brimelow agency in Manchester issued a flyer on Monday describing the Covid pandemic “a blessing in disguise” for the sales market, because demand had soared and prices increased, spurred on by the stamp duty holiday.
There was a huge social media backlash and the story quickly reached the websites of some national newspapers.
The leaflets said Coronavirus brought “so much uncertainty, so much worry about jobs and of course concern over health” and that against such a backdrop it was “all the more remarkable how the property market has performed.”
The flyers then go on to ask: "Has Covid been a blessing in disguise for Chorlton and Old Trafford?”
The agency issued an apology after the backlash, but the Manchester branch of the Acorn group - which calls itself a renters’ union - posted a Twitter link to a story about the agency with the comment: “The moral bankruptcy of landlordism knows no limit.”
In recent days it used the social media platform to try to drum up support with messages such as “Fed up of dodgy landlords and letting agencies? Fed up of a broken system that allows them get away with it?”
It then refers to a “Manchester Member Defence Team” as a “fighting squad against landlords and letting agents.”
The same group, responding to the latest extension of the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions running until at least February 21, tweeted: “Throwing people out of their homes during a pandemic might be a government policy but we’re here to stand up for each other.”