I KNOW I’ve hit the nail on the head when Bob Towner refers to my letters as “another rant”. He just cannot stand to hear the truth.

The retired local government housing officer has no idea of the percentage of bad tenants in the private sector.

I know from experience that it happens more often than Mr Towner would like people to believe.

Initial deposits are usually one month’s rent, hopelessly inadequate to cover damage inflicted in the worst cases. The “exorbitant” weekly rent of £177 quoted by Mr Towner is meaningless without reference to the type, location and size of property.

It is not the case that escalating rents are forcing up the housing benefit bill. There is a maximum figure that is payable in any housing benefit claim.

The call for a debate on rent capping has nothing to with housing benefit costs but everything to do with anti-capitalist prejudice.

The whole concept of one person owning a home which another individual rents is an anathema to those on the left; but they will not be honest and admit that this is the driving force behind calls for rent controls.

Matthew Laverack, Landlord of this parish, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York.

• Bob Towner should know better. He was around in the 1970s when rent controls caused private lettings to almost disappear overnight.

Rent officers were notorious for regulating rents at absurd low levels which barely covered the cost of repairs and renewals, let alone the cost of paying back loans incurred in the purchase or construction of dwellings. And they certainly didn’t include any livelihood for landlords.

Their brief was to force down rents to ridiculous low levels without regard to economic reality. It was a disaster, which led to to the near extinction of private lettings.

A repeat of such folly in the present housing crisis will lead to the same result – a mass exodus by freeholders from the private rented housing sector. This will help nobody.

Mr Towner says things cannot continue as they are. The solution is simple enough. The authorities should fund and build council houses again in sufficient numbers and stop expecting private industry to do their job for them.

John Jones, Sand Hutton Manor, Sand Hutton, York.

• READING Bob Towner’s letter of March 5, one has to appreciate his expertise in social housing and his commonsense approach about the future if we continue the present system.

I enjoyed reading his letter on rent action being necessary and hope a sensible approach will prevail.

Keith Chapman, Custance Walk, York.