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Do I Need a TV Licence?

salford student lets

We often get asked whether students need a TV licence for their house and it seems like there’s a lot of misinformation out there. We’ve written this blog post to break down when you need one and when you can do without. 

What is the TV Licence?

You’ll need a TV licence if you want to watch live TV, or watch or download TV programmes using iPlayer. The fee is used to pay for every aspect of the BBC’s service offering, from TV programming to podcasts and weather forecasts. Even if you spend your time watching the likes of ITV and Channel 4, you still probably use a BBC service; in a recent survey, 92% of respondents said they used at least one BBC service a week.   

If you never watch live TV and never use iPlayer, you do not need to pay the licence fee. If that’s the case, you need to let TV Licencing know. You can do that here

However, if you do need the licence but don’t pay, you could be fined more than £1000 if an enforcement officer visits your house. This includes confirming that you have a licence when asked on the iPlayer app, even if you do not.

How Much Does It Cost?

The TV licence fee this year is £154.50. That may seem high, but it’s actually reasonable given the amount of quality TV you get for your money. The cost rises with inflation each year. Sadly, there’s no discount if you’re a student, but if you’re in a shared student house, signed under a joint tenancy agreement, you only need one licence. You can then save money by equally dividing the cost of the licence between you and your friends.

If you only need the licence during term time, you may be entitled to a partial refund. You’ll have to apply for this on the TV Licencing website and provide proof of your term dates. You’ll be able to get a refund if there’s still at least a full month left on your licence. 

How Do I Pay?

The easiest way to pay your licence fee is as a one-off payment online via debit or credit card. You can also pay in installments, via cheque, by post, or via PayPoint services at most supermarkets and corner shops.  

Do I Have To Pay?

We’ve got some great news! As part of our ‘bills inclusive’ package, the TV licence is provided free of charge by Mistoria! 

We provide high quality Liverpool, Bolton and Salford student lets. Speak to our friendly team now to secure a house for next year. 

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Keeping Your Student House Clean

student lettings salford

Once you’ve moved into your shared student house, it’s not long before the mess starts to build up. We’ve written this article to help you keep on top of the cleaning in your house and stop arguments starting over whose turn it is to scrub the bathroom!

Rota

If you haven’t set up a cleaning rota yet, do so as soon as possible. Sit down together and make sure that all the household chores are shared out equally between every member of the house. Set out the key things that need to be done, such as taking out the rubbish and cleaning the kitchen. Make sure everyone agrees on the schedule and that everyone has a say. Aim to clean everything once a week; you may want to set the same day and time for everyone to do their chores. If you do it regularly, it’ll be far easier to manage. 

Cleaning Products

Ensure there is a store of communal cleaning products that everyone contributes to, but make sure that none contain ingredients that members of the household are allergic to, or that they might object to (if they have been tested on animals, for example) 

Doing the Washing Up 

Deciding whether to do the washing up on a rota or as individuals is up to you. If you do it as part of a rota, you know that everything will be done regularly. However, some people may find that unfair, especially if they use fewer bowls and less cutlery than other household members. If you do it individually, each person will be responsible for their own cleaning, but the chance of people leaving their pans ‘to soak’ is high and plates may soon begin to pile up. 

Communal Areas

If you’re in a communal area like the lounge or kitchen, try and tidy up after yourself. In the bathroom, ask everyone to keep their toiletries in their own rooms, or if you have a cabinet, on each shelf. Don’t leave your various bottles out in the shower as it’ll become impossible to track what’s yours. 

Tidy Up Before You Go Away

If everyone is leaving the house during the holidays, tidy up everything before you vacate the property. Empty the fridge and cabinets of anything that might go off, take the rubbish out and wipe down all surfaces, especially kitchen counters. This will mean you won’t come back to a house that has been taken over by mice and flies.

Student Houses in Liverpool, Salford and Bolton

Are you looking for a student house for next year? Experts in student lettings, Salford, Liverpool and Bolton based Mistoria still have homes available. Speak to a member of the team to find out how we can help you.

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How To Decorate Economically

letting agents salford

When decorating their student rental properties, many inexperienced landlords spend too much time and money creating an aesthetic that appeals to them, but not to their tenants. 

We’ve written this blog post to provide landlords with guidance on best practice when decorating, to ensure they save money and attract tenants.

Paint vs Wallpaper

You should always avoid wallpaper when decorating your property because of its tendency to tear and mark. It’s difficult to repair such issues without having to repaper the entire wall, but it’s easy to touch up knocks with a light application of paint. In the void period between tenancies, landlords often wish to refresh the look of their property. This is easy with a new coat of paint; the same effect cannot be quickly achieved with wallpaper without quite some expense. 

When choosing a paint colour, landlords should pick one which is neutral and bright and which does not clash with many other colours. Whether the property is modern or traditional, a neutral tone such as magnolia will always look good and will not look dated after a few years.    

Saving Money On Paint 

If you are a portfolio landlord with a number of different properties, it is best to use the same colour scheme throughout all of them, buy your paint in bulk and keep an eye out for special promotions and discounts. Choose a popular colour from a well-known brand so that you know shops will always have it in stock. When a tenant moves out at the end of their tenancy, don’t change the colour of paint you originally used. By using the same colour, you won’t have to use several coats, saving you valuable money. 

Before You Begin

Before you start painting, check the walls for signs of damp. Covering them up and leaving the damp to spread could cost you an eye-watering sum of money later down the line. If it is ignored, it will lead to cracking paint, mould, and will eventually leave the house unfit for human habitation. If you do discover damp, fixing the issue should be your number one priority. The room may have to be replastered and fitted with a new damp course. Remember to allow the plaster to dry completely before painting it. 

Use a Paint Sprayer

Before you begin painting, wipe down the walls and fill in any small holes. Then, invest in a paint sprayer. Whilst there will be some expense when you first buy the product, you will thank yourself later, when decorating large expanses of wall becomes easier and ultimately cheaper (using a paint sprayer is far more efficient than using a roller). Take the same precautions when paint spraying as you would when painting normally, such as using sheets to cover carpets and affixing masking tape around windows, skirting boards and light switches. 

Flooring

Once you have decorated the walls of your property, you may notice the flooring looking the worse for wear. Consider replacing the carpet with something new, but again, keep it plain (but don’t go for something too light, as stains will show up easily).  Don’t be tempted to buy the cheapest carpet though, as it’ll quickly wear down in high traffic areas. 

Don’t have the time to decorate?

If you don’t have time to decorate yourself, come to Mistoria letting agents, Salford. Once we have sourced suitable properties for investors and landlords, we then fully decorate them in a style that we know appeals to tenants, leaving you to relax while we do the hard work for you. Contact us now on 0800 500 3015. 

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Mistoria Group Celebrates 10 Years of Property Growth in the North West

The Mistoria Group founded in 2009 has just completed 10 years of major growth and expansion into one of the leading providers of student housing in the North West. Over this period the group has also refurbished 250 properties importantly delivering new life into local communities. With over 900 properties in its portfolio alongside over 2000 tenancies under their management Mistoria now employs over 50 staff/contractors across the region.

Responding to the dramatic growth and demand for quality student accommodation Mistoria have expanded their property footprint into Liverpool and Bolton alongside growing their presence in Salford, Manchester. With its entrepreneurial CEO Mish Liyanage at its helm, Mistorias’ assets have dramatically risen over the last decade from £3m to £115m. Meanwhile the groups turnover has been transformed from £578,000 to over £20m in the same period delivering an impressive growth in nett profit after taxes from £15,000 to £337,000 across the Group of companies.

Apart from managing student property Mistoria have also carved out a successful niche in offering investment in the ‘buy to let’ market and with their experience alongside local knowledge they have delivered yields for their investor clients of up to 13%. Meanwhile the recent purchases of regional property businesses Pick my Pad and Student Haus confirm the acquisitive nature of Mistoria to deliver future growth for their rapidly growing business.

Following this impressive growth The Mistoria Group recently celebrated their 10 year anniversary at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester with staff and business partners alongside announcing long service awards for Rob Flint and April Calderbank who have worked for the group for 8 years. In addition the staff and management team also helped to raise £6,000 for the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, Liverpool Hospital Oncology Team and Centrepoint.

Mish Liyanage, The Mistoria Group’s CEO commented;

‘From humble beginnings I am proud to have grown The Mistoria Group into a reputable and fast growing property business here in my home region – the North West. We are committed to servicing the needs of clients who demand the very best possible results in all aspects of property investment and management. With a young and hard working team supporting me we also look forward to supporting the growing needs of our landlords, students as well as residential tenants by delivering high quality accommodation over the next decade. As we celebrated our 10 year anniversary we were very pleased to support three important charities who undertake vital work across our region and which have been personal to me.”

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Making Your Property Ready For Winter

investment hmo manchester

As Winter begins, it’s time for landlords to start thinking about getting their properties ready for the cold weather.

We’ve written this blog post to explain a few of the steps you can take to ensure your property is not affected by the adverse conditions.  

Check The Roof and Gutters

You should make sure that your property’s gutters are free of leaves and any other debris to prevent rain overflow. Water damage and damp can be particularly problematic as the results are not immediately obvious; tenants may therefore not report the issue until it has become a major problem. 

Damp and water ingress can also be caused by missing roof tiles. These are easy to spot and fix. Slightly harder to see are cracked tiles, so they require a thorough inspection. Splits can become far worse during winter, as water freezes and expands, breaking the tiles even further. 

Lights

As the nights get shorter, it’s worth ensuring that if your property has external lights, they are working properly. This will make tenants feel safer and should hopefully reduce the chance of break-ins. Whilst tenants are expected to change their own lightbulbs within their property, doing so in external fittings can sometimes be difficult. It might therefore be worth taking the time to change them yourself. 

Check Pipes 

You should check all the pipes to which you have access to ensure they are not leaking or broken. As they are prone to freeze up and burst during Winter, it may be worth fitting lagging  Ensure they are properly secured to the wall and that the brickwork around them is showing no sign of cracking where water might get in.  

Void Periods

It’s likely that student tenants will go home over the Christmas holidays. Before they vacate the property, you should advise them to set the heating to 7-10 degrees, to ensure that the property’s pipes don’t freeze up. Ask that they don’t leave any valuable items in sight in their rooms to reduce the chance of the property being broken into. Remind them to close and lock all windows and doors.  

Check the Heating

The property’s heating system may not have been used for quite some time, so it’s worth having the boiler serviced, checking all pipes and bleeding the radiators, which should warm up the house more efficiently. Take the time to ensure the property’s insulation is in order, especially in the loft, through which a quarter of the heat in a house can escape. Also consider fitting draught excluders to doors.

Ventilation

When it’s cold, tenants often don’t open their windows for months on end. However, if they remain closed, condensation can quickly build up. We’ve previously written a blog post about damp and condensation. You’ll find lots of helpful advice about protecting your property during the colder months there. 

Fix Small Issues

You may have let lots of little issues build up over time that you haven’t got round to doing. It’s a good idea to sort these issues out whilst you carry out your Winter checks. If they are not addressed, small problems can quickly become much worse when the cold weather sets in. 

Mistoria’s Services

If you are looking for an investment HMO, Manchester, Liverpool and Bolton based Mistoria Estate Agents are here to help. Once you have made your purchase, we have a dedicated Maintenance team who can assist with any issues around your property. Contact us now to find out more.