WHEN will politicians bring the private rental agencies under control?

The rents, dreadful enough, can perhaps be blamed on market forces; but the extra fees they charge are extortionate, and surely a prime target for punitive legislation.

In a recent viewing with an agency, I was informed that “references” would cost £95 per applicant – that is, a fee for someone to type my name into a database and read out the credit rating score.

Then I was told there would also be a £185 non-refundable “holding fee” —-a fee for “taking the property off the market”; in other words a fee for doing nothing at all.

And what if I immediately paid my bond and the first month’s rent, thus committing myself from the off? No difference. This fee is a venal grabbing of renters’ money, safe in the knowledge we have nowhere else to go.

I am sure some internet genius will soon invent an online rental system which will wipe these agencies out of business.

In the meantime, any politician who ran on a ticket of introducing legislation to curb such excesses would surely gather large swathes of that elusive youth vote.

Dr Ben Young, Margaret Street, York