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Lettings agency takes down Facebook video after strong backlash over rent rise ‘boast’

North London agency Reliable Homes finds out the hard way that off-the-cuff comments within video can quickly go viral online.

Nigel Lewis

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A lettings agency in London has taken down a video it posted on Facebook after being heavily criticised for ‘celebrating’ the fact that rents within its patch had risen by 10% in recent months.

One-branch agency Reliable Homes in North London has learned the hard way that unintentionally controversial social media posts can quickly to viral and cause significant reputational damage – and has now deleted the video and apologised.

Last week the company used social media to upload the video, which mentioned “absolutely soaring” rents in the  North London suburb of Muswell Hill, describing the increases as a “silver lining” during a “very difficult year” while also saying its “heart went out to tenants” who were struggling.

“We apologise if it caused any upset, this was not our intention at all,” a company spokesperson told local media.

The video had been pounced on by local politicians and activists including local MP Catherine West and Haringey council, who described it as “incredibly saddening”.

Councillor Emine Ibrahim, Haringey Council’s housing lead, said, “It is incredibly disappointing that a local estate agent would celebrate the fact that the already astronomical rents in Muswell Hill are increasing during a global pandemic.”

West said, “This video demonstrates what we all know, rents in our area are unaffordable for so many local people, and it is saddening to see local estate agents taking pleasure in rents increasing so much when local people are often struggling to keep hold of their homes,” she told the Ham & High.”

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September 14, 2020

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