YET another rant from Matthew Laverack – this time about the private rented sector (Letters, February 20).

His description of tenants who trashed “the house, stole the contents and disappeared leaving enormous unpaid bills” is a travesty of the truth. While there may be a very small minority to whom this applies, the vast majority are struggling with exorbitant rents of £177 a week.

I would remind Mr Laverack and others that they can require an “initial deposit” to cover the rare eventualities to which he refers.

James Alexander’s thoughtful contribution about the private rented market deserves proper debate – not the knee-jerk reaction referred to above.

The cost of escalating rents is forcing up the housing benefit bill. The Government has already introduced a benefit “cap”. This, however, does not address the cause, which results from excessive rents, but the effects of a totally unregulated market.

It is indeed time for a sensible and considered debate. Things cannot continue as they are.

Bob Towner, Hobgate, York.