2 February 2015

HOMEOWNERS across the Wakefield District are missing out on a potential £36m windfall each year by not letting out vacant property.

New research by Wakefield Council has revealed that there are over 6,000 privately-owned homes currently standin

Ross Harding and Steve ChippindaleLinking-up Ross Harding, left, of Linley & Simpson's branch in Northgate and Steve Chippindale, of Wakefield Council's Strategic Housing Empty Properties team

As part of the council's initiative, it is now teaming up with leading residential letting specialists, Linley & Simpson, in a bid to demystify the property market - and encourage more owners to take advantage of market conditions and rent out their homes.

The aim is to help ease the district's housing shortage as well as reduce the environmental blight on some neighbourhoods that empty properties can cause if left overgrown or in disrepair.

Linley & Simpson, based at Northgate in Wakefield, have recently been vetted and approved for membership of the council's Responsible Landlords' Scheme.

Branch manager Ross Harding has been working closely with Steve Chippindale, who is heading up the council's Strategic Housing Empty Properties Team, since joining the scheme.

Mr Chippindale said: "The Responsible Landlords' Scheme was launched with a dual aim - to give tenants peace of mind when they are looking to rent a property, and to drive up quality standards among landlords.

"It is a way of publicly recognising those well-intentioned landlords and agencies that are willing to attain and adhere to good property standards

"Having vetted their properties, we're delighted to welcome Linley &Simpson into the scheme."

Branch manager Ross Harding said: "We are now working closely with the council to give potential landlords an insight into the rental market, highlighting what help and support is available to them and indicate how much money they may be missing out on.

"Based on a conservative average of £500 rental income per month, we estimate that owners of these vacant properties are losing outon more than £36m a year.

"Demand for renting continues to outstrip supply in many areas, as buyers can't buy, and sellers can't sell.

"Being a landlord is easier than many people think -- and this initiative will help to free up much-needed rental potential. All they need do is pick up the phone and we will guide them through the rest."

Mr Chippindale said renting had an important part to play in the district.

"There are many reasons why properties become empty," he said. "For some, they may have inherited them, while for others they may think renting is a complex maze.

"This partnership is designed to guide owners through the letting process, advise on what is required if the property is in need of some work to enhance its appeal - and ultimately match their home with a tenant."

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