The Citizens Advice Bureau
has been forced onto the defensive after a Northamptonshire letting
agent accused it of "targeting" letting agents.
The controversy comes in the wake of an online survey by the CAB
which asked consumers about problems they have had with letting
agents, and asks them to name the agent in question.
The criticising agent said: "The Citizens
Advice Bureau is a publicly funded body that's supposed to give
everyone basic advice when needed. However, here it seems to be
deliberately seeking out problems in one particular sector.
"As a taxpayer I'm curious to know why my money is being spent
seemingly targeting a specific part of the private sector."
CAB launched the survey with considerable local publicity in the
local papers and with a radio interview.
Citizens Advice Bureau respond to
Martin Lord, chief executive of Central and East Northamptonshire
CAB, responded to the accusations, saying that the CAB needed to be
there to support vulnerable people against those, such as letting
agents, who could potentially be in a position of disproportionate
influence on their quality of life. He said: "The Citizens Advice
network is the UK's consumer champion. We provide advice to people
who need help with consumer problems, including issues with
landlords, letting agencies, dodgy used cars and cowboy
"Bureaux do vital work to tackle common issues at the root by
advocating for changes which will protect consumers.
"Central and East Northamptonshire CAB helps with hundreds of
problems with privately rented accommodation every year - including
letting agencies - so we know that this is an issue for people in
the local area.
He also said that the CAB intended to work with lettings
agents, not simply against them: "Through our survey, we want to
gather more evidence so we can work with local lettings agents and
Trading Standards to nip problems in the bud and make sure renters
have all the information they need when they need it"