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96 interiors & property


beyond the market A


Leading Letting Agents, Linley & Simpson, report on how demand outstrips supply as Yorkshire rental market enters a new era


nother year of rising demand for rental property shows no signs of abating, according to Yorkshire’s largest residential letting specialists.


Linley & Simpson - whose eight-branch network includes offices in Leeds city centre,


Horsforth and Roundhay, as well as Ilkley, York, Harrogate, Wetherby and Wakefield - has let more homes in the first eight months of 2010 than in any comparable timescale in its 12-year history. More home-buyers continue to be unwilling or unable to step on to the property ladder,


following the continental trend and preferring to rent - not least because of the flexibility it offers. A growth in the number of single-person households is also triggering extra interest in renting. Director Will Linley said these changing trends were taking the residential letting market


into a new era: “Recent months in particular have witnessed a shortage of properties available to rent. In some areas, our stock levels are down as much as 75 per cent on ‘normal’ levels, with around 18 times as many tenants now seeking accommodation. “This is unprecedented. It has resulted in a rise in rental prices, some going up between


5 per cent and 10 per cent in the last few months. Void periods – which can be costly for landlords – are almost non-existent. “We are letting more and more properties without the need to advertise them, and we’ve


seen an increase in multiple applications for the same properties. “We’ve recently turned down one prospective tenant – not on the grounds there was


anything wrong with her application, but because another party was able to move quicker. “She told us it was the fourth time she had suffered the same experience because other


applicants were able to get there first.” The health of the rental market has also coincided with more investors taking advantage


of Linley & Simpson’s property acquisitions service, which guides prospective landlords through the maze of identifying, buying and letting out a rental property. Under the directorship of Victoria Cribb, the initiative harnesses Linley & Simpson’s long-


standing knowledge and expertise of the regional rental market to deliver yields as high as 8.6 per cent on some buy-to-let properties. She said: “Over the long term, property has historically proved itself to make a sound


investment, provided that you make well-informed purchases. “As our network within the industry expands, we are progressively able to identify stronger


and stronger opportunities for our clients through a mix of good discounts and motivated vendors. The result is naturally high yields that outperform any bank or building society rate.” For more information about this service, visit www.lsbuytolet.co.uk.


BAA-RMY TENANT REQUESTS


W


hen Linley & Simpson staff carried out a routine inspection


of one of its rented properties, it soon became apparent why their tenant was looking rather ‘sheepish’. For wandering about inside the lounge


of the home was a lamb - sporting a pair of giant underpants. “When asked what the animal was


doing, the tenant replied straight-faced that she had a big garden to maintain and it was cheaper than buying a lawnmower,” said Nick Simpson, Director of Linley & Simpson. The episode is just one of a number


of strange and funny incidents that staff at the company have been asked to deal with over the past 12 months. Other bizarre requests have included: • A tenant saying it was too dark on the street outside and could Linley & Simpson arrange for the council to put up extra streetlights


• A client claiming he was allergic to central heating


• A resident asking for urgent help to remove a worm from a cellar


• A pregnant woman asking for a bath to be installed in her prop- erty – ‘otherwise the hospital won’t admit me when I go into labour’


• A man who claimed that the carpets in his property triggered panic at- tacks and asked for their removal


• A tenant complaining about the smell of the person living next door


“We have completed more than


25,000 lets since launching the business 12 years ago so nothing should really surprise us any more – but it does,” said Mr Simpson. “These incidents and requests show


that there is never a dull moment in the life of a letting agent. Dealing with tenants’ requests – however bizarre they may seem – is an important part of the job and one which all of our 70 staff are trained to do well. For them it’s all in a day’s work.” The company has three offices in


Leeds as well as in York, Harrogate, Ilkley, Wetherby and Wakefield. It was recently crowned ‘Best Small Letting Agency Chain’ in the UK at the property industry’s ‘Oscars’.


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