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Introduction of Article 4 in Salford : “Small houses” in multiple occupation (HMO)

Planning regulations as you will know set at many “Use Classes” for how all building types may be used. This is to ensure that if you want to change from say a domestic dwelling for a family to another use, you can only do so under the council’s guidelines.

HMO houses in Salford previously allowed single household (C3) properties to be turned into “small” HMOs (C4), that is for properties housing three to six unrelated people, without the need for planning permission.

From 25th November 2018 this will no longer be the case in the central Salford boroughs of Broughton, Claremont, Irwell Riverside, Kersal, Ordsall, Langworthy, Weaste and Seedley and the wards of Barton and Eccles.

Following a debate last year it was decided that small family dwellings that were to be turned into HMOs for students or professional to rent together, would now require the council’s planning permission.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) can be defined in a number of different ways, but broadly speaking they are considered to be properties occupied by unrelated individuals who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom. The traditional source of HMOs tends to be larger, older family dwelling houses. In cities such as Salford and Liverpool these properties are very popular with students who often prefer them over lage student halls.

They generally provide a cost-effective option for student accommodation and allow for simple letting agreements that last for 12 months and that can then either be renewed or the person can leave the property.

Mandatory licensing of larger HMOs was introduced in 2004 for those with 5 or more tenants and 3 or more stories, so you cannot simply turn your own property into a HMO rental property without properly complying with the wide range of legislation that landlords need to be cover.

Each council can have its own set of rules and for Salford all HMOs must adhere to the council’s HMO standards. These standards cover things like minimum room sizes, amenity standards and fire safety requirements.

Landlords themselves who manage HMOs are also covered by legislation and this legislation places certain duties on the individuals managing the property and no compliance with these regulations may result in a prosecution and/or fine (including a civil penalty).

If you are considering an HMO investment property either to source, renovate or to manage then Mistoria Group can assist you. We are the North West HMO experts with over 1200 rooms currently under HMO rental agreements. Cash yields can be high as 13% (both rental and capital) so please call 0800 500 3015 or email us at info@mistoriagroup.com as your next step.

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Top tips on how to survive a student house share

student house share

Often university is the first (and only) time most people will experience shared-living. No, living with parents and annoying siblings or other family members doesn’t count!

It can be a culture shock getting used to other people’s ways of living – even carrying out the simplest of daily tasks can vary wildly from one person to another. Similarly, one person’s idea of tidy can be very different to another’s… All potential stress factors and grounds for conflict but it needn’t be that way. After all, you’re all in the same boat; living away from home for the first time and learning to stand on your own two feet and do things for yourself. Everyone has different strengths and playing to them could be the best way to go about house sharing.

Whatever your situation, whether you’re sharing with pre-established friends, course mates, teammates or total strangers, here are some top tips to keep your house-share harmonious.

Keep it clean
Cleanliness is subjective and we all have different ideas of what clean means. It’s best to share with people who have similar standards to you, but, if this isn’t possible, try to compromise. You should set a few ground rules in the house share at the start of the tenancy agreement, such as keeping communal areas clean and tidy. Everyone must agree to clear up after themselves, particularly in the kitchen, and dirty pots should never be left to fester. If necessary, draw up a cleaning rota to ensure that everyone does their fair share of the workload, or agree to split the cost of a weekly or fortnightly cleaner.

Get the bills in order
When you move in, agree how bills will be paid and split between everyone in the house share, as this is a common cause of arguments. Set up bank transfers to cover the monthly outgoings that are your responsibility, and keep a record of what’s been agreed when it comes to making payments. Alternatively, download an app that allows you all to access and track expenses by logging in from your phone.

Stay secure
Keep your belongings in your room and be clever with storage, so that your personal items don’t spill into the communal spaces. Security can be an issue too, with people coming in and out of the home that you don’t know, so it’s worth having some lockable storage in your room for high value items. Be vigilant and, as a house, agree to always lock your doors and windows to prevent break-ins. Also, if you have a burglar alarm, use it!

Share the essentials
It’s a good idea to band together with your housemates and put money towards kitchen basics, such as pots and pans, condiments, spices, and dairy products to save you all over-buying. Each month, you can agree what needs to be replaced and all put money in a pot to make sure that those essentials are restored going forward.

Respect others
Respect your housemates’ privacy; don’t go into their rooms when they’re not there and always knock first if the door is shut. Keep the noise down if you are inviting friends round or coming in late at night, and try to give some warning if you’re having visitors. Being respectful in a house share goes a long way towards preventing conflicts.

Remember to communicate
Have an established method of communication to discuss specific house matters, for example a Facebook or WhatsApp group. If you have an issue to raise, however, the best thing to do would be to communicate face-to-face, so that it can get resolved quickly. If you haven’t developed a social relationship with your housemates, a simple “please” and “thank you”, along with polite conversation, can establish a comfortable atmosphere for everyone.

Choose your housemates carefully
If you have the luxury of getting to choose your housemates, think carefully before you agree to move in with someone, and consider whether you could potentially clash on anything like smoking, obsessive tidiness or having conflicting work schedules. Be honest about your own lifestyle and needs when talking to prospective housemates, as it will be a much more enjoyable experience living with people that you get on with.

Re-post from Propertymark

At Mistoria Estate Agents we specialise in student housing with all-inclusive bills (including broadband), in close proximity to university campus’ and a reliable 24/7 maintenance service. Our high quality rental properties have everything a student needs and are situated across Liverpool and Salford. Properties are let on a room-by-room basis to make the renting process easier for both you and us. Our prices are advertised per person, per week, allowing you to quickly decide if a property is within your budget. Whether it’s a small three-bed terrace or a large 6-bed townhouse or something in between, let us help find you the perfect uni pad. Call 0800 5003015, email info@mistoria.co.uk or visit one of our local branches in Liverpool and Salford and speak to one of our friendly team.

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Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards landlord advice

minimum energy efficiency standards landlord advice

The buy-to-let (BTL) market saw lots of changes in 2017 (taxation of BTL investments and portfolio landlord rules, etc) and there’s yet more regulation coming in 2018.

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC ) tells you how energy efficient a property is and is rated from A (very good) to G (very poor). It goes without saying that the more energy efficient your property, the lower the energy bills and (usually) the better the overall condition of the house. A high EPC rating also restricts the amount of rent you can charge so keeping up to date with property maintenance work is a good incentive if you want to command the highest yields possible.

Furthermore, EPCs have been a mandatory document for any property rental or sale since 2007 and have a validity of 10 years. As the first of these certificates are coming up for renewal, even stricter energy regulations are being forced upon buy-to-let landlords.

As of 1st April 2018 the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) makes it unlawful to let out a residential property with an EPC rating of F or G (unless exemptions apply). From this date landlords cannot renew or grant tenancies on a property if it does not meet the MEES regulations. Beyond April 2023, the continued private rental of all buildings failing to meet the minimum standard will be outlawed entirely. Local councils will have the power to enforce compliance of the MEES, with penalties of up to £5,000.

The potential risk to landlords (if the property fails to meet MEES) is financial losses and the need to borrow more money to make necessary improvements.

You can view individual EPCs by just entering the property’s postcode here (England & Wales).

There are exemptions to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for landlords, details of which (along with further information about the scheme) can be found on the Government website.

If you are a landlord and would like to explore energy improvements for your rental property, we’d be happy to help you. If you would like to discuss ongoing management of your property (portfolio), we would also be delighted to help. Please call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.