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How to let or rent a property during lockdown in England

letting agent bolton

In these difficult times, dealing with property-related matters, such as viewings and move-ins, can be very stressful, as there are additional safety considerations involved for all parties. With this in mind, Bolton-based Mistoria Estate and Letting Agent Bolton will explain what falls within the rules in England whether you are looking to rent or let a property in lockdown, and how to minimise the risk of infection in the process.

Advice for letting in lockdown

In England, government guidance says that estate agents, letting agents and removal firms can continue to work. This means you can let a property in lockdown to new tenants

The rules state there should not be more than one household in any home at any time, so ideally yourself and existing tenants should be absent from a property during an in person viewing. You should also ensure all surfaces are thoroughly disinfected before and after the viewing.

You can still bring in a professional cleaner if needed before new tenants move in, and tradespeople can carry out maintenance and repair work on the property provided they follow the safety guidelines.

Advice for renting in lockdown

In England, you are allowed to look to rent a property in lockdown. Carrying out activities related to renting a residential property is considered a reasonable excuse to leave home. However, the government says you should carry out initial property searches online if possible, rather visiting your local estate agent.

If you are considering renting a particular property, you can still book to attend a viewing in person, though it is advisable to request a virtual viewing first. Many agents and letting services have taken steps to enable this.

Should you wish to view a property in person, you must abide by the rules and take measures to avoid spreading the virus. This will include wearing a face mask, staying two metres away from other people, and washing your hands before and after the viewing.

When you are ready to move into a new property, people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless it is absolutely necessary.

Properties available from our Letting Agent Bolton

Mistoria Estate and Letting Agent Bolton has a wide range of impressive properties available for rent and for buy-to-let agreements across the town. We have implemented measures to ensure the safety of our existing tenants and those looking to rent with us. If you’d like to know more, please use our contact page or call us on 01204 800 766.

We are members of ARLA Propertymark which means we meet higher industry standards than the law demands. Our experts undertake regular training to ensure they are up to date with best practice and complex legislative changes so they can offer you the best advice. We are also backed by a Client Money Protection scheme which guarantees your money is protected.

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Bolton letting agent support in lockdown 3.0

bolton letting agent

What strange times we are living in!

2021 is the year (according to the film industry) that we should probably be living in a dystopian future. This may have seemed far-fetched 12 months ago however, having lived a real live contagion pandemic for the last year, it seems like all bets are off. People’s lives have been turned upside down and ‘just keeping on’ has become our ‘new normal’. More Groundhog Day than Mad Max.

Marketing plans and projections have become a tricky process and the ability to adapt has become key. This has therefore become our mantra here at Mistoria Estate Agents Bolton for the coming year; “Adaptability, and always having a Plan B” (and a Plan C, and possibly a Plan D!).

We are constantly looking to offer the best options for our clients and to plan for contingencies to keep the housing market moving. Despite the latest restrictions, our industry is still open and active and we are keen to support the country’s economy by keeping the sector stable. In short; both sides of the branch are fully operational. Our Bolton estate agent is taking enquiries and instructions and carrying out valuations (albeit virtually). Our Bolton letting agent is taking tenancy applications and moving tenants into properties and helping landlords manage and fill their properties.

People will always need a home and property is still a great place to invest your money, given the poor returns on savings.

We are continuing to move tenants and purchasers while following Government guidelines on safety and we are in the office to offer advice on rental, HMO, sales and commercial property so we feel confident that we can all ride out the Covid-19 storm to sunnier times (and hopefully sunnier climes – we all need a holiday!).

We can’t wait to see you all in person but until then we are just at the end of the phone (WhatsApp, Zoom, email….). We will get through this together, let’s keep in touch.

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New Mistoria HMO property video walk-through

We’re delighted to present a video walk-through of another recently renovated and refurbished HMO property.

This 4 bed, 1 bathroom, 1 reception room house share property in Salford is an example of the Mistoria Standard.

Tenants

This property is available for the next academic year (from 1/7/21). Please contact our Salford branch to request a viewing. You can view more details about the property here.

Rental properties from Mistoria are renovated to a similar standard. We have HMO and student house share properties available in Bolton, Liverpool and Salford. Contact your local branch or visit the websites for current listings.

Bolton – 01204 800 766

Liverpool– 0161 707 6106

Salford – 0161 707 6106

Landlords

Are you interested in investing in an HMO or student property like the one shown here? Speak to our Property Investment team on 0800 500 3015.

5 Wythburn Street, Salford

 

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A landlord’s guide to avoiding winter hazards in your property

property management little lever

When winter arrives in the UK and the weather turns, there are a number of property hazards that you may want to look out for. Staying on top of property maintenance can help you catch issues early and avoid having to claim on your landlord insurance.

Having a maintenance schedule in place can protect your investment, and tenants, against a range of property pitfalls, including those that may be more likely during the winter months. 

The follow have been identified by leading property insurers as the top winter hazards facing property owners:

  1. loss of roof tiles
  2. water penetration due to poorly maintained flat roofs
  3. guttering and chimney stack damage
  4. problems with walls and outbuildings including damage to garden cabins/sheds, garages and greenhouses and
  5. damage to garden equipment. 

What property hazards should I look out for in winter?

Research shows that many landlords leave their properties, and therefore their investment, at risk of damage. Each property can differ when it comes to key weaknesses during colder weather however, the above mentioned common issues to watch out for are explained in more detail below:

Loose roof tiling – get a professional roofer to inspect your roof. Damaged, missing or loose tiles can cause serious damage in high winds.

Water damage – it’s key that any leak, severe condensation and/or mould is identified and fixed as soon as possible. Prolonged water exposure will cause serious damage to the structural health of your property, and the health of your tenants, as exposure to mould can cause severe respiratory problems.

Blocked gutters – as the leaves fall from the trees, they can become clogged, preventing rainwater from draining properly. If left unchecked, this could lead to issues with your roof, including internal leaking.

Loose fence panels – fix or replace them if necessary. Fence panels can fly off in extreme win and cause damage to your home and potentially your neighbour’s property.

Secure loose objects in your garden or move them elsewhere – wind can play havoc with your garden furniture and ornaments; move them indoors or secure them.

Cut back branches – tall, overgrown trees and large bushes in your garden can cause damage in storms. Cut them back to reduce the chance of this happening.

Put up flood defences before bad weather arrives – you can find sandbag-like products to block doors and entrances.

Also keep an eye on the boiler in your rental property during the winter. The last thing you want is for your tenants to be left without heating and hot water, especially when the temperature has dropped.

Another issue to bear in mind is when water is left in the pipes and the heating is not on (perhaps you have student tenants that travel home for an extended break over Christmas, leaving your property empty), the water could freeze and later lead to burst pipes.

How can I protect my property from these winter perils?

A good place to start is regular maintenance checks. By taking a look around the interior and exterior of the property, you can keep an eye on its condition. The sooner you spot an issue, the better your chances of fixing it before it gets worse. You should especially consider performing a maintenance check soon after any extreme weather, such as heavy rain or snow.

Understandably, you can’t be at the property all the time to notice such issues however, you could encourage your tenants to be extra vigilant. Tell them to look out for signs of leaking pipes, damp patches and mould. You’d expect them to be in touch if these problems occur anyway, but there might be some areas that they don’t go into often, such as a loft, attic or hard to reach areas where the pipes are. Encouraging tenants to report any maintenance problems might also allow you to catch them early.

Help to avoid burst pipes by keeping the heating on at a constant temperature or by having the property professionally drained down if it is left empty for a while. 

Sometimes damage to a property is inevitable, and you will have no choice but to pay for repair work. Having suitable landlord insurance in place might also provide you with the financial protection you need.

How can we help look after your rental property?

Part of the professional letting agent service from Mistoria Estate Agents Bolton includes managing any maintenance issues your property may require. We conduct thorough property inspections and the beginning, end and during any tenancy to ensure your property is being looked after and is fit for habitation.

Our dedicated maintenance team has inspected hundreds of properties and knows exactly what to look out for, ensuring your property is kept in top condition and is fit for purpose. We specialise in property management Little Lever, however if you are a landlord of any sort and would like to discuss in more detail the service Mistoria Estate Agents Bolton can offer you, please contact us on 01204 800 766.

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The ‘Tenant Tax’: Advice for Landlords

student houses Bolton

A change to the so-called ‘Tenant Tax’, officially known as Section 24, could leave as many as 28% of landlords subsidizing their rental properties. 

This tax is nothing new though. It was introduced in April 2017, but many landlords still know very little about it. Currently, they can offset mortgage interest against their income from rentals before calculating their profits and taxes. However, the latest change to the legislation means that by 2021 landlords with mortgages will not be able to claim mortgage interest as tax deductible. Rental profits will now be taxed with a maximum deduction of 20%. 

Those landlords who own their property outright will not be affected by the changes.

Will The Change Affect Me?

You will be affected by the Section 24 changes if you have any kind of loan or mortgage interest on your BTL property that is a considerable proportion of your costs. You will now have to pay tax on these costs, as well as any profits you make. You should not assume that this change won’t affect you. Instead, carry out a thorough assessment of your finances, or talk to a tax specialist, such as those at MCC Accountants

How Can I Minimise The Effects Of The Change?  

The effects of the ‘Tenant Tax’ are expected to be significant. On average, it is thought that landlords will have to pay an extra £2000 in tax once the change has been fully implemented.

You should be wary of raising rents to compensate for the tax increase, though 44% of respondents in a recent survey by online letting agency Upad stated that they would be doing so. There is potential for this activity to harm your rental yields. Instead, you should consider setting up a company to purchase BTL properties, or transferring properties you own as an individual into a limited company.. It may be necessary to sell some lower yielding properties and reduce mortgage payments. Alternatively, if your partner is in a lower tax bracket, transferring the properties into their name may be an idea, though this may have repercussions on inheritance and capital gains tax. 

Other Changes

Mortgage arrangement and broker fees will also no longer be tax deductible under the new legislation. Before 2016, if a property was rented out in a furnished state, HMRC allowed landlords to offset 10% against their income every year. This could be done whether furniture was replaced or not. Now, however, this can only be done if furniture is actually replaced on a like-for-like basis. You should therefore be cautious of replacing furniture unless it is absolutely necessary.  

How Mistoria Can Help

If you are interested in renting out student houses, Bolton based Mistoria Estate Agents are here to help. Our property professionals are on hand to assist with any query you may have, including the complex legislation, such as the Tenant Tax, which surrounds properties of this kind. Give us a call for more information

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Buy to let remains a popular investment despite recent changes to legislation

buy to let landlords

A recent survey of 5000 investors by a London based agency had reported that the Buy-to-let investment model remains the most popular amongst those surveyed.

Although the market is currently seeing a raft of new legislation, covering all aspects of the rental market, 73% of these investors still see property investment as the most stable, least volatile long-term investment available.

Recent legislation has changed stamp duty, tax-relief and tenants fees, making the sector less profitable but the long term impact of these changes is seen more as a bump in the road by many businesses with the size and scale to make adjustments for the long term.

Smaller rental operators may have lost interest and be leaving the sector and certainly the government is seeking to weed out unscrupulous landlords and improve the quality of the businesses that own and manage rental properties, but those with scale are coping well with the new rules.

With Brexit looming there will no doubt be further changes made as the impact of this significant political development  feeds down into the nuts and bolts of property management. However the fundamentals of the investment are still there for the responsible landlord.

Renting property is popular amongst students and young professionals as well as many families. Having the right partner to help you find and manage your tenants will help you generate a steady, reliable income. Buying and maintaining the right kind of property, in the right area, means that you will have capital appreciation as well as this rental income.

Knowing all of the legislation can be difficult for landlords but that’s where choosing the right lettings agent as a partner can be a great help to you. Your agent will manage hundreds of rental properties so will be fully up-to-date with both local and national legislation.

Mistoria operates a team of local offices, staffed by knowledgeable,  friendly staff who work with dozens of landlords in the property rental sector. We cover all of the paperwork for you, ensuring you and your property are fully compliant. We will also source your tenants and manage their tenancy. And of course we handle payments and the money side of things giving you regular monthly statements of all income and expenses and making sure your payments are promptly made.

If you are currently struggling to manage your portfolio or are looking for a new partner to help you with your properties then please drop us a line or call us and we would be happy to show you our range of lettings services.