Worried tenants in Arlington House facing 25%-36% rent hikes

Arlington House

Residents at a Margate tower block say they will struggle to stay in their homes after being issued with rent rises which they say are between 25% and 36%.

Freshwater Property Management Limited, which holds the lease for the 18 floor (plus roof level) block through its company Metropolitan Property Realizations Limited, owns 36 rental flats and has issued the rent rises to its tenants.

The hike, which will begin in October, means some tenants will have to find an average £250 extra each month to pay their rent.

One tenant, who did not want to be named for fear her tenancy would not be renewed, said: “All the Freshwater tenants got an email about the rent increases.

“It says my tenancy is about to expire and that I have 14 days to respond to the email or they have the right to withdraw my tenancy renewal offer, so could evict me.

“It’ll be more than £200 per month extra and although it will be an average price for the area it is a big hike to do in one go.

“Some of the tenants are single parents and will struggle with the increase. We all knew there would be a rent rise but to go up by more than £200 in one go is insane.

“People are in shock but there is nothing written legally about how much they can raise the rent by and there isn’t a cap.

“It’s catch 22, try and pay or be evicted but then you can’t be housed here as the council is sending people to places like Medway for temporary housing.”

Margate mayor and former Arlington tenant Cllr Rob Yates says Freshwater, otherwise called Daejan Holdings, have £881m of residential property in the UK and have begun “maximising rental income in Arlington House by demanding rent increases of 35% or asking their tenants to move out.”

He adds that the company paid their directors bonuses of £1.5m in 2022.

He also points a list of issues that tenants and leaseholders in the bock have faced, including:

Photo John Horton

Cllr Yates said: “We know the rental system is broken in the UK when property management companies like Daejan Holdings openly describe their business strategy as being ‘to maximise net rental income and thereby enhance capital values’ without mention of fair rents, the safety of the buildings or the welfare of their tenants.

“The market rate of rent in Margate is not a target to be met, especially by landlords who fail to safely manage their assets on behalf of residents. We need a system that stops rewarding rent extraction and rewards the right outcomes such as well maintained buildings and fair rent.

“As a previous tenant of this block who has witnessed (issues) at the building first-hand I feel it is my duty and obligation to speak out about this.”

Freshwater has been contacted for comment but is yet to reply.

Thanet housing

As of September 4 Thanet District Council had 238 households in temporary accommodation and around 1604 applicants on the housing waiting list.

Thanet council is facing a rapid growth in the number of people becoming homeless and predicts demand for accommodation will continue to grow due to rising rents, the cost of living crisis and courts clearing eviction notice backlogs.

For some people becoming homeless will mean being reliant on the council to provide temporary accommodation so they don’t end up sleeping rough or sofa surfing.

Households that find themselves at risk of homelessness should contact the Housing Options team as soon as possible so they can try and prevent them from having to leave their current home.

Councillor Helen Whitehead, Thanet council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, expressed concerns relating to rent inflation overall across Thanet, and its impact on the health and stability of residents.

She said: “The cost of living crisis, when combined with the popularity of Margate and Thanet as a whole, creates unique challenges and extraordinary stresses for residents. With a lack of central controls relating to private rent, the external markets and external financial pressures determine rent; and with a low Local Housing Allowance, also set by Central Government, and interest rate increases affecting all aspects of housing, property within Thanet is no longer affordable for many residents.

“We are doing all we can to support those who are facing rent increases or homelessness, against a backdrop of exceptionally challenging conditions. We are increasing our production rate of genuinely affordable housing by over 400%, with 51 units already approved, as well as increasing our in-house temporary accommodation; we will continue to increase the supply of genuinely affordable housing, support residents, and push for increases to the Local Housing Allowance, to ensure that Thanet is affordable for all members of our community.”

Get advice

https://www.thanet.gov.uk/info-pages/advice-for-private-rented-tenants/

Shelter England

Citizens Advice

https://www.porchlight.org.uk/

Thanet council Housing Team 01843 577277

31 Comments

  1. I have to find £200 a month towards my rent because of the low housing allowance and I am a widowed pensioner, if you want to live anywhere this has to be found or face being homeless and at my age who wants that. Problem here is greedy landlords because they know someone will always pay the higher price

    • You probably remember when M. Thatcher demolished rent controls in the 80’s May, since then we have seen the return of slum landlords, and loss of social/council housing. And this Tory government has done nothing about it, shame on them!

  2. Freshwater/Daejan.
    The stereotype whose name we must never utter or risk everlasting condemnation.
    If the cap fits!

  3. Sadly ! Who can take Rob Yates seriously he is a professional politician that lives in a large bungalow in Palm bay…. And doesn’t work … labour running through his veins. Doesn’t really understand the poor in Thanet another DFL

  4. We have a country , that has no wish to control its population level, pays far too many people to do nothing or very little, we’ve an nhs that spends fortunes on people who exercise little responsibilty for their own health and just expect the state to sort them out, our productivity per capita is poor , yet everyone wants ever more. So there’s no money to build more houses, when we do they are built often in the face of local opposition, so land that is available for building is worth ever more, we’re paupering ourselves for a green dream. To try and cover the interest payments taxes are forever rising , landlords subjected to ever greater taxes , legislation and face greater risk in respect of getting rid of a bad tenant.
    So for a landlord the tenant is the only one to cover the costs , we’ve been told recently that earnings are rising by around 7% , interest rates are rising , demand for property is ever increasing , so rents are only going one way for the forseeable future. The only real way to hold rents back is to either restrict demand or build more, no appetite for the former not enough money for the latter.

      • Certainly not a small landlord, but they operate in the domestic private rented sector so are playing in the same pond. They are out to make money like any business, that the rents even with these increases will be around the local market rents would suggest that for a while at least they have been way below the local norm.

  5. If the rental prices are unreasonable then the landlords will be shooting themselves in the foot and have empty properties. Thanks to open borders we have millions more people looking for homes, so we all have to cosy up and make space. That means taking in a lodger to make the rent or moving to a smaller and more affordable property. Or just digging deeper to maintain the housing norms of 10-20 years ago.

    • Indeed.

      The problems are basically two-fold.

      People no longer live at home until they get married and set up their own home. People people now demand their own home – especially those who have managed to produce two or three children BEFORE getting a job and setting up their own home in a stable relationship.

      Additionally, we continue to import hundreds if not thousands of people into the country every week – all demanding to be housed somewhere better than a hotel (or a barge).

      Demand therefore outstrips supply. We are running out of farmland – and cannot build houses quickly enough in any event. Inevitably,
      it is a sellers market and therefore the price goes up.

      Sadly, nobody wants to prevent the cause. Therefore, we live with the consequences.

  6. I done some work for a landlord in Whitstable. Estate agents run his house for him . The rent for his 4 bed house went from 950 to 1600 . He told the estate agent to reduce it to 1300.

  7. Let’s not forget the lessees who own their flats and whose service charge has increased considerably without any noticeable benefit or improvement to the communal areas, the fabric of the building or the infrastructure and utilities in the building.
    Freshwater’s flats are generally not of the best quality and are poorly insulated and impossible to keep warm in winter.
    The building is now subject to a substantial risk notice fire safety works are still outstanding from when the original fire enforcement notice was served a few years ago
    So it is pretty outrageous for Freshwater to propose any rent increase.

    • Redundant mobile telecommunications equipment is being craned off the roof.

      Mr Freshwater has a number of commercial rooftop tenants from whom he derives further rental income.

      However, the cost of roof repairs and upgrades to lightning conductors are charged to residential lessees.

      Mr Freshwater is laughing all the way to the bank . . .

  8. Talking of landlords I’m told that the new landlords of the Mataland retail park have increased all the shop rents yet they are not doing any maintenance or repairs. I’m told the landlords are British land of the biggest landlords in the U.K.
    it seems landlords are happy to put rents up for no other reason than utter greed.

  9. Lies. I have been homeless for nearly four months. I contacted the council the first day I was forced to sleep rough, asking for temporary accommodation, and was simply left for dead. I’ve had one needs assessment and one housing assessment with them (both meetings were a month apart, and were held about a month after I initially made contact). It has taken nearly two months for them to assign me a key worker (following the needs assessment) who is supposed to support me back into housing/work, and they’ve only now (after significant protestation on my part) begun to even think about contacting me. The homelessness response in Thanet needs a complete overhaul, and a new system NEEDS to be introduced that actually looks after those who are most vulnerable in society. Yes, homeless shelters need to be built here as a matter of priority, but there are also gross systemic failures (amounting to an abuse of my human rights) and gross corruption within TDC that needs to be fixed asap. I suggest that the Labour Parliamentary Candidate Polly Billington stop talking about AirBnB (quite a trivial issue in comparison) and start to design a new system to eradicate homelessness in Thanet. I don’t trust Labour to fix it, but what is happening is obviously far more damning for the Tories than it is for the reborn centre-right Labour Party under Keir Starmer.

      • Yep, lots of homeless people have mobile devices and other consumer goods. It doesn’t cost much to buy a phone and pay for service provision so most people who receive some sort of allowance can afford these items. Additionally, without internet access arranging any kind of appointment, searching for work or housing etc. etc. become very difficult. If … IF rents were considerably lower and there were sufficient affordable properties it might be worth forgoing these ‘essentials’ in order to get and keep a home. But as it is a month’s rent for a bedsit equates to a fair few mobile phones and there would likely be considerable competition for that bedsit before you even got to the rent-paying bit. And don’t forget the deposit … and so on.
        Anyone over 60 or so may recall that consumer goods were not always so freely available. Poorer people did not have mountains of ‘stuff’ but could access services and handle personal admin via public telephones, by writing letters, by traipsing from one office to another etc. etc. And almost everyone had a home of some sort even if it is wasn’t particularly salubrious. Not utopia but still makes rather more sense than needing a state-of-the-art gadget in order to search for accommodation while sleeping in a doorway.

  10. I suggest giving a big middle finger to both major political parties and voting for the Greens. Billington is a fake careerist who does not care about the lives of normal, working class people. She is a former BBC journalist (we all know exactly how impartial they are now), and she was media director for Ed Milliband’s leadership bid in 2010…he went on to lose catastrophically against big Dave in 2015, which led to the UK’s exit from the EU. That’s not a great record, in my view.

    • Have you been to green-led Brighton lately? There are bushes growing out of pavements, to the degree that elderly residents literally can’t walk down the street.

    • Dear Adam;

      I’m not quite sure how your homelessness case moved into a very specific general election advert for the Green Party, but if you’d like support in your housing case I’m happy to provide support; I don’t believe I’ve heard from you, unless you’re currently under an alias. I’m at [email protected].

      In terms of trying to prevent homelessness, we introduced Thanet’s first 24 hour all year homelessness support and accommodation, have also increased social housing building by over 400%, and have started our own in house temporary housing, to increase and improve our supply of temporary housing.

      The outcome of over a decade of underfunding of social housing isn’t something I can change; but the response to it is something I can, and have changed.

      All the best,

      Helen.

  11. Is this to pay for the new windows? 🪟 I have worked on the electrics in quite a few of those flats and they leave alot to be desired.

      • Yes they would, but many of them are privately owned too, you would be surprised to learn how many companies especially contractors downgrade safety codes in order to sign works off and keep the costs down for landlords to avoid carrying out expensive safety critical work, too scared incase they don’t win the next contract if they go too far over budget, I see it all the time.

  12. The Housing allowance should be increased by the Government, the allowance for people that are coming into the UK illegally is obscene compared to what indigenous people get. I would say its BLATENT DISCRIMINATION that the Government treats its own citizens this way.

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