Ilkley company backing bid to clean up booming sector of market

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Rogue property operators are an increasing problem in West Yorkshire, leaving both landlords and tenants out of pocket after the abandonment of Government plans to clean up the sector, according to a lettings specialist.

Will Linley, director of Ilkley-based Linley & Simpson, said the firm had seen an influx of new customers who had been duped by operators in a sector of the property market that is bucking the trend and busy.

Photo of Will Linley

Long-awaited plans for a mandatory licensing scheme were due to be introduced last year to raise standards and drive out unqualified, unethical and unprofessional agencies, but they were dropped after a Government U-turn.

Linley & Simpson has thrown its weight behind a new 'kitemark' standard to be brought in this year, which will identify agents who abide by legislation.

Mr Linley said: "Nobody books a holiday with a travel agent who is not accredited and registered - but this isn-t always the case in the rental market where the stakes are far higher.

"At the moment, anybody or any organisation can set up as a letting agent without any experience or qualifications. As the sector bucks the trend and continues to grow, it leaves the door wide open for more unethical operators to enter it.

"More needs to be done to help clients differentiate between the good, the bad and the plain ugly in terms of letting agents," said Mr Linley.

"A kitemark-style standard and publicity campaign would help achieve this, giving landlords and tenants ultimate peace of mind in knowing that their money was safeguarded."

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