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PRESS ARTICLE: Increased numbers of landlords and investors claiming student HMO valuation rip offs

student HMO

There has been sharp rise in the number of formal complaints made by landlords and investors about the valuation they have received for their HMOs, (both licensed and unlicensed), according to The Mistoria Group, a student property investment firm.

The complaints centre around valuers’ property valuations and the fees they charge. Mistoria’s research reports that a large proportion of landlords and investors have found that valuations are up to £50,000 below market value and do not take into account the rental income or any works carried out on the property.

Instead, valuers give the property a valuation based on sales comparisons on the same road, or based on rental income for a family of four, aka a buy-to-let property, which is substantially lower than the income generated by an HMO; they fail to take into account any major refurbishment to the property which has increased its market value; and they value it based on a property that is a similar size, but is not of the same quality and standard.

Mish Liyanage, Managing Director of The Mistoria Group commented: “This is a big problem in the market and needs to be addressed. In the recent past, we have challenged these valuations and lodged complaints to both the lenders and valuers with little success. The comparisons we have provided on a like for like HMO sales have been totally ignored. We believe this is not just a one-off problem, rather it is a wide-spread, growing problem. Valuers and HMO lenders need to be honest and upfront about what type of valuation they are doing and what rental income they are taking into account. “

Mr Liyanage also believes that valuers should stop charging for HMO valuations.

“In reality, they are carrying out standard buy-to-let valuations on unlicensed HMOs which are typical 3–5 beds,” he said.

Citing a recent case, Liyanage went on to say that: “A valuer was asked to look at value of a 4 bed house share. The HMO valuation was £80,000 and it failed to take into account any consideration of HMO sales comparables, which were provided. These included 4 bed HMOs in the area that sold in excess of £130,000 during the previous 12 months. The valuer was paid £700 for the HMO valuation.

“Subsequently, another group of valuers gave a buy-to-let valuation of £90,000 on the same property, for which the charge was £170. So this begs the question – how can an HMO valuation be less than a buy-to-let valuation and why are HMO valuations so expensive?”

This article first appeared on Choices Today on 30th July 2014

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The growing need for quality student accommodation Liverpool

student accommodation Liverpool

Describing itself as a city of culture, heritage and people, Liverpool has a lot to live up to but we certainly believe it hits the mark.  If you’re moving there at the end of summer to start university you surely won’t be disappointed by the setting.

Museums, music and more, Merseyside ticks all the boxes of a thriving place with plenty to offer its residents and visitors.  From the Beatles to Premiership football clubs, Liverpool has a rich culture that touches every field.  Although you will be studying and not touring, you can rest assure you won’t suffer from boredom in your spare time.  Whether you’re into music, history, art, food or sports, you will always find something interesting to do in Liverpool.  The city is also famous for its vibrant night-life, especially popular with students.

With three universities to boast about, a leading performing arts college and many other educational facilities, Liverpool is a mecca for students.  In fact, Liverpool is home to 50,000 students, so you certainly won’t feel alone here.  The city has everything a student needs for successful studing, not to mention it is also a very dynamic place when it comes to graduate jobs and business.  There are many opportunities for internships and future jobs and so it’s no coincidence that it has been chosen to host this year’s International Festival of Business.

With a growing student population and the city’s great quality of life, the need for quality student accommodation in Liverpool is now more sought-after than ever.  However it can be tricky to look for accommodation especially when you move to a new area and are unfamiliar with the different parts of the city.

Luckily, at Mistoria Estate Agents we understand how you feel.  We have been students in the past and we know that moving to a new city can sometimes a bit overwhelming and that it’s not always easy to make the right decisions when it comes to housing.  Our Liverpool letting agents can help you find the best student accommodation in Liverpool so you can enjoy the city to its full potential.  Our properties are provided fully furnished and come inclusive of all bills so all you have to do is move in and make yourself at home.  Find out more about Mistoria Letting by calling us on 0800 500 015 or emailing info@mistoriaestateagents.co.uk.

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Manchester and Salford Student Lets

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Manchester and Salford have long been associated with students.

With such a great selection of places to study, including the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford there’s sure to be a course that’s right for you.

The recent introduction of Media City at Salford Quays and the BBC’s move ‘up North’ along with the creative boom that’s going on in Manchester at the moment, the region is certainly the place to be for graduates and professionals too.

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Manchester has a diverse, multicultural population and one of the largest student communities in the UK.

A vibrant a modern city, Manchester is buzzing with restaurants, bars, shops, galleries and exhibitions.  There are more than 50 museums and galleries – many of which are free to enter.

As well as British pubs and clubs the city offers a vast range of international cuisines with the second largest Chinatown in the UK (after London). The Rusholme neighbourhood is home to the ‘Curry Mile’ of over 70 restaurants and take-aways specialising in the cuisines of South Asia and the Middle East.

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Manchester and Salford have a huge selection of reasonably priced student accommodation.  Manchester and Salford student lets come in all shapes and sizes. You have the choice of staying in halls of residence, renting a room in a shared house, or renting out an entire house with your friends.

At Mistoria Estate Agents we know that as students in 2014 you require a modern home with all the facilities required to help you study and relax, such as broadband and a flat screen TV. We offer some of the best student lets out there, which include gas, electricity, water and internet bills so there are no nasty surprises for you and your housemates.

To find out more, please visit our website and browse the properties in your place of study.  We have Salford student lets, as well as student accommodation in Liverpool and Preston.  Any questions?  Give us a ring on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoriaestateagents.co.uk

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Moving to UCLan this year? Our Preston letting agents are here to help

preston letting agents

If you’ve just graduated from college or sixth form, you may be ready to move to Preston for university at the end of summer.  The city is home to the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) which is now the sixth largest university in the country, with over 33,000 students.  This makes Preston a great student city, and we are sure that you will love living there – especially since Preston was recently voted the 8th happiest place to live in the UK!

One out of five Preston inhabitants is a student, so you will be surrounded by like-minded people of a similar age.  The dynamic city offers a variety of things to do, no matter what your passions.  There are two large shopping malls within walking distance of the university, plenty of sports facilities, and numerous independent coffee shops to be found down cobbled streets, ideal for finishing course assignments in peace!  The Grade I listed Harris Museum and Library, Museum of Lancashire and St. Walburge’s Church are also nearby if you fancy some culture.  Alternatively there are a number of parks which are brilliant for outdoor activities. We particularly recommend Avenham Park, which marks the start of the Guild Wheel, a popular scenic cycle route around the city.

If your studies are getting on top of you, and you need to get away, Preston is ideally located close to the coast (Blackpool is just a short bus or train ride away), the Forest of Bowland, and the Lake District.  The vibrant cities of Liverpool and Manchester can also be reached by train from Preston’s historic station.

We know that moving to a new city can be as stressful as it is exciting, especially if it’s your first time away from home.  But whether you’re a soon-to-be Fresher looking for an alternative to halls of residence, or a second or third year moving on to a student house, our Preston letting agents can help find the right accommodation for you.  Our properties are provided fully furnished and inclusive of all bills so all you need to worry about is enjoying your new place!  Find out more about Mistoria Estate Agents by calling us on 0800 500 3015 or emailing info@mistoriaestateagents.co.uk – and don’t forget to download our guide to your first student house!

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Tenancy Deposit Scheme

Tenancy Deposit Scheme

It’s that time of year when students up and down the country are moving out of their current student accommodation and moving into their new student housing for the next academic year.  Although many students might be heading home for a few months to reap the comforts of home until the new semester, they will still need to vacate their digs and transfer their belongs to the new place.  Commonly student leases run for 1st July until 30th June.

With this busy time of year comes the process of returning deposits.  It’s a tense time for both sides.  Tenants want every penny back.  Landlords and agents want to find their property in good condition and have no cause to use some or all of the deposit for repair or maintenance work.  It’s a delicate area which can result in disputes when the two sides don’t agree.

The situation isn’t helped when the media publish only the extreme cases where legal action has been taken, a property has been completely and utterly ransacked or an unscrupulous landlord has run off with a tenant’s money.  Just last week the Manchester Evening News covered one student landlord’s experience and the dreadful state some of his properties were left in. Thankfully, these are very rare cases.

To help protect both parties, it is now a legal requirement for landlords and letting agents to place all deposits into a registered tenancy deposit scheme or deposit protection scheme.  These are government-backed schemes and the money is kept there throughout the length of the tenancy and only returned once any diputes have been rectified.  Neither the landlord nor the tenant can access the money whilst it is held in the scheme.  This protects the landlord or agent from any false use of the funds and the tenant can rest assured their money is safe and secure.

There are a number of official tenancy desposit schemes available and it is down to the landlord or agent to chose one and register themselves.

Find out more about the tenancy deposit scheme, your rights as a tenant, and as a landlord at www.gov.uk/tenancy-deposit-protection/overview