By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.
Graham Awards


Ban Them! Call for rival bids on rental properties to be outlawed

The homelessness charity Step By Step is demanding that rival bidding on rental property be outlawed to give the poorest prospective tenants a chance to get a home.

The organisation claims that the concept of the rental bidding war is a growing factor in the lettings market, with landlords “taking advantage” of the excess of demand over supply by demanding six months’ rent in advance. 

This is pricing young people out of the market, particularly those already facing challenging personal circumstances, claims chair spokeswoman Susan Muckart. 


“As the need to bid for a property becomes more commonplace, the likelihood of a young person securing their own property declines. Young people who have faced challenging upbringings and experienced homelessness will be at an immediate disadvantage.”

A statement by the charity says traditionally landlords have let a property on a first-come-first-served basis, so long as a potential tenant can pay the deposit and passes reference and credit checks.

However, the charity claims that now some landlords ask potential tenants to write an application, explaining who they are, their background, and the amount they are willing to bid, either in terms of the monthly rent or the amount they are able to pay upfront. 

Landlords then make their decision based on who can pay more or who looks better on paper. “Applicants are often gazumped by those offering to pay up to 25 per cent more rent” it says.

As a result, increasingly the advertised rent is becoming a minimum bid amount.

Kelly Headen, another Step By Step spokesperson, adds: “It is deeply concerning that the decision-making process is now based on unregulated ‘assumptions’ from a landlord. It is unquestionably unethical and open to significant discrimination.”

She claims that younger people in particular are likely to lose out through the process.

The charity says that an additional disadvantage for younger prospective tenants has come as a result of the law change forbidding agents and landlords charging tenants for some services such as referencing. 


A statement from Step By Step says: “A change to the law in 2019 means that tenants no longer have to pay the fees associated with obtaining references. Instead, the landlord is expected to foot the bill. 

“While this is ostensibly good news for tenants, in reality it has led to landlords seeking references only once they have already made the decision about who to let to; with so many potential tenants vying for each property, it would prove very costly for a landlord to obtain references for each initial applicant. 

“This effectively means that references do not factor into a landlord’s decision making. Even if a young person has strong references, these would afford no advantage in being considered over rival applicants.” 

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

  • Suzy OShea

    You can all thank this government for these 'undesirable consequences'. Their new laws and regulations have caused many landlords to flee the PRS and use their properties in other ways. Meanwhile, this two-faced, hypocritical government puts almost no money into building new social housing which forces vulnerable tenants into the PRS, which is not where they should be!

    Landlords are running a business. Not charities for the homeless. That is for councils and the government to sort out!

  • icon

    Don't all social housing providers use a bidding system? Maybe using different criteria to the PRS but nonetheless choosing the tenant they wish to home based on their own criteria?

  • icon

    Well if they want to stop bidding wars for renting then why not for first time buyers in the sales market ! Young people are getting outbid all the time…… but as usual it’s all about tenants.


    Yes, recently I have seen more and more 'sealed bids' for property buying. Buyers may end up paying more then the asking price.


    In, and around Norwich most properties are selling for over asking price, and quickly, the asking price is now just a guide as to where to start bidding, market forces.

  • icon

    The Government and Councils are to blame for the current situation . They have successfully forced many private Landlords out . By excessive Taxation and over Regulation . Landlords that are left have to be especially careful before they house anyone. I certainly am.

    The next round of Anti-Landlord Regulation EPC , and banning of section 21 will make things far worse.

  • icon

    In the past I have often let property at a lower rent than advertised after bargaining with prospective tenants. You can't have it both ways.

  • icon

    What a load of nonsense!! I have never let a property on a first come first served basis!! It's not a buyer's market and we all know the reasons for that. I always ask for some information to allow me to decide who to offer viewings to. I don't expect anyone to pay more than the asking price, but I do need to know they can afford it. Worst tenants I ever had were a young family with 3 young children, trashed the place, rent arrears, very rude, never again.


    In my 30 years of being in the business I have NEVER let any of my properties on a 'first come first served basis' and none of the landlords I am associated with has either-as is being put forward.

    I have always had a brief telephone interview with them before I even agree to a viewing. Hear the answers, read between the lines both at pre viewing and after viewing, then make a decision over the next few days as to who would be most suited and to stay long term- I hate short termers.

  • icon

    Of course we want to know a bit about the applicants before arranging a viewing. We may have over 30 applicants, often before the property has been vacated by the existing tenant. It would be grossly unfair to the outgoing tenant to have days of completely unsuitable applicants nosing around their home.

    If applicants can only be bothered to say "Is it still available" without giving any information about themselves they go into the "to be replied to if I get round to it" catagory.
    Ideally someone will tell me what their household composition is - number of adults, number of children with ages and gender, pets. Occupation, age and why they think the property would be suitable for them. When they would be hoping to move in and if they are looking for something long-term or a defined period.

  • Philip Drake

    The letting agent I use sets the rent at the market rent in the area for the quality of my property.

    Prospective tenants in the market view the property and some make applications.

    The letting agent based on limited unverified tenant provided data eg employed; salary; job title; amount in savings etc formulates a list of suitable applicants.

    I review the list and ask for a bit more data eg is the employer local.

    I then compare the risks of each tenant eg affordability; probable length of tenure.

    I choose the best of the bunch.

    If a prospective tenant offers 12 months rent upfront or higher rent then these are red flags to me. There’s no bidding.

    Once tenanted the rent stays the same for several years.

    Tenants generally pay on time, leave in their own good time and properties are left in decent condition with normal wear and tear expected.

    Only had to evict a very small number of tenants due to: antisocial behaviour (shouting abuse, late night parties etc; non payment of rent).

    I think it would be useful for these alleged happenings, reported in the media, to be sense checked before being published so that small numbers of denationalised isolated incidents are not propagated as being industry trends.

  • icon

    I don't do bidding wars on rent either up or down, but I do chose tenants very carefully, we have to now, I need to know that they earn enough in a secure job to be able to pay the rent, that automatically rules out the scrounger element, no one under 25, no single mums and no one that comes under the '' venerable'' heading, I run a business not a charity

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    What drivel, - its like suggesting that ebay be Outlawed. !

    Excessive attempts to interfere in business as an excuse for failure by the state to provide housing and trying to transfer that responsibility onto private individuals.

    Otherwise known as steps towards sequestration of private property.

  • icon

    Go ahead and ban it -we are talking about a tiny minority of landlords. I’ve yet to meet a landlord who does this. It will of course make no difference, if there’s such competition for properties, then these landlords will just raise the asking price and then consider lowering it for the better applicants.

    You want cheaper rents and less bidding etc? make the sector more appealing to landlords by reducing taxation and regulation. Then there’ll be more properties available, and the competition will bring the price down.

    As others have said - this problem is entirely the governments making.

  • icon

    I keep having to laugh at these articles - they really are a superb form of entertainment! How is it these ridiculous idiots keep creating problems - entirely foreseeable problems - only to cry and wail in despair when the obvious consequences arrive?! You really couldn’t make this up. But do keep these articles coming, they really are fantastically amusing.


    You have taken the words right out of my mouth!
    The 'powers that be' create problems that didn't exist and then complain about the unintended yet predictable consequences!

    Anyone remember 'Thats Life' with esther rantzen?

    The last 7 years of letting is something that could be featured in the programmes final 'unbelievable but true' story!

  • icon

    Once again the Government is trying to change the PRS to make it do the job THEY are supposed to be doing by housing those tenants who clearly should be in Social Housing.


    Agreed, I don't want the tenants that should be in social housing

  • icon

    Amazing, where is the shortage of Housing ? yet just Building thousands of High Rise Flats willy-nilly.
    I seen a Local Agents website today saying they have 920 properties for Sale, you would never suspect this, on further checking I see 5 on one road and 6 on another that I know very well. However only one Board up is this a new trend or more stupid Planning Restrictions.
    Maybe like covid 216 died in London last week from this not a mur-mur.

  • George Dawes

    Is it April 1st ?

  • icon

    Nice way to get a full article out of talking about basic market forces.

  • George Dawes

    It’s called market forces this out of touch woman needs to visit reality

  • icon

    So I worked for an Estate Agent ( I also have my own properties) back when the London rents dropped due to Covid. We had 2 bedroom properties (in Chelsea) going for 40% off what it did previous years. Tenants were viewing the properties and on a 1500 property were bidding 1200. Landlord had to take that or continue looking. I've had conversations many times with landlords who HAD to take a below market offer so they could caver mortgage. Now everything is going back to normal and charities are activating demanding landlords keep losing money so the 'vulnerable' can keep making poor life choices and live a lifestyle they can't afford.
    Where were the charities amidst Covid asking tenants to not bid below the advertised rent to keep the rents 'steady'. No where, because the charities are working against US. They want FREE houses. They want to pay nothing but 'own' the property, while requiring the landlord to maintain it. Free free free, give it to me for free because I am vulnerable, single mom, on benefits, I can't afford it and overall I'm making bad choices.

    It's not my responsibility to care for a 'tenant' I've never met before and have no connections with other than he pays me rent and I repaid the flat.
    I would also love to buy a penthouse for 10 quid, can one of the charities make that happen please?


    Just to add: When Covid was happening, I've had landlords cry on the phone to me, saying that the tenants have refused to pay rent because 'They don't think they should be paying as much, due to prices coming down'. Landlords were giving reductions left right and center. Worse was when I had a call from a lady about 70 year old, lovely woman. She owned just 2 properties. Her house and a flat right next door to her. She rented it to a man, who appeared to be very lovely and nice to her initially. When she called me and cried (i've never seen a woman cry harder than her), saying he is refusing to pay anything now and she has seen ALL her furniture broken and outside the property because he 'didn't like it'. He was demanding she pays for NEW furniture out of her pocket, or he was going to start breaking down walls etc. Absolute nutjob. Police called but did nothing. She had to go through a very lengthy procedure to get him out. I saw him on Facebook crying on one of the 'tenant' groups how his landlord was terrible and what he had done, and everyone was cheering him on like he was a hero for destroying her house and costing her thousands!!!!!

  • icon

    I dislike the term vulnerable generally they are the bone idle scroungers that expect others to fund their living, best to leave them to councils and housing associations where they belong


Please login to comment

MovePal MovePal MovePal
sign up