Posted on

Your Duties in a Mistoria Student House

mistoria student house

Whether you’re attending lectures, working in the library, playing your favourite sport or meeting up with friends on socials, we know that you’ve got lots going on in your life. We understand that your responsibilities in a Mistoria student house will be the last thing on your mind. That’s why we thought we’d write this blog post, as a friendly reminder of some simple dos and don’ts… 

  1. Try and keep the property clean and tidy at all times. We’ve written a blog post in the past about creating a cleaning rota and the best products to use.  
  2. No food to be left/eaten in bedrooms – we know you do this, but don’t leave evidence of it!
  3. Don’t attach posters to the walls with Blu-Tac as it causes grease marks that are really difficult to get rid of.
  4. Put your rubbish in the correct bins and don’t let it pile up, especially in your garden or yard. This causes an unsightly mess and encourages vermin. 
  5. Keep all rooms vented to prevent condensation and damp. When you’re at home, open windows a little and use extractor fans in the bathroom when you’re showering and the kitchen when you’re cooking. 
  6. When you first moved in, you will have been shown how to top up the boiler, clean out the hoover and clean the filters in your washing machine, all things you may not have known before. With just a bit of maintenance on your part, household items will stay in effective working order.
  7. Smoking is not allowed in any of our properties. Make your Mistoria student house a nice environment for everyone and smoke outside, away from open windows and doors.
  8. Wet wipes and kitchen roll should be disposed of in a bin and not flushed down the toilet, otherwise you run the risk of causing blockages.
  9. Clean your shower regularly, removing hair from the plug and making sure mould doesn’t form. 
  10. Use boiler timers and your thermostat. This will help keep the house at a pleasant temperature and prevent pipes from freezing up in cold weather.
  11. When using the internet, be considerate of other people in your house; streaming films will slow your housemates’ connection speed down and can be really frustrating for anyone trying to work.
  12. Anti-social/irresponsible behaviour will not be tolerated. You each have equal responsibility to make your student house a safe and pleasant place to live for yourselves and your neighbours.

If you don’t follow the guidance above, the Mistoria maintenance team might have to be called out and you may be charged for the work that they do to fix a problem. 

If you have any questions please call your local Mistoria office on 0800 500 3015.

If you’re looking for a Mistoria student house in Salford, Liverpool or Bolton, please get in touch and let us help you find the perfect place to call home for the next academic year.

Posted on

MIstoria Villa: Open Day

mistoria villa

On the 13th February 2020, 4pm – 7pm, we’re inviting our landlords and investors to look around Mistoria Villa, our latest brand new luxury development, aimed at students and young professionals. Will you be joining us?

The event will be held at:

Mistoria Villa

106A Castle Street

Bolton 

BL2 1JL

Following a full renovation and high specification upgrade, Mistoria Villa now boasts 15 luxury en suite bedrooms, complemented by well equipped kitchens and comfortable communal social spaces. The stunning bedrooms, each with a unique contemporary design, are spacious and airy and all come fitted with desks, chairs, wardrobes, large, comfortable beds and modern furnishings. 

Situated within the Trinity Gateway Zone, the property offers excellent road and rail transport links, with easy access both to the bustling Town Centre with its wide variety of shopping and leisure opportunities and the academically excellent University of Bolton, just a ten minute walk away. 

You can view further images of the property and find out more by clicking here

To confirm your attendance, please email natasha.cross@mistoriagroup.com.

We look forward to seeing you!

Know someone who might be interested in the event? Don’t forget to spread the word amongst your contacts.

Posted on

How To Protect Your Student House From Burglars

student accommodation for sale salford

According to police research, students are the group most likely to be targeted by burglars in the UK, so it’s really important you make sure you do everything you can to make your property secure. We’ve written this blog post to help you take the necessary precautions to keep you and your belongings safe. 

Locks

Over 1000 student homes in Manchester are burgled every year. Shockingly, 1 in 3 burglaries occur after the students living there fail to lock their doors and windows before leaving the property. It is therefore essential that you make sure your locks are in good working order and that you use them as often as possible. Burglars want easy access to a property, so by making their lives more difficult, you’ll dramatically reduce the chance of a break-in. If you can, you should also lock your bedroom door when you go out. That way, if one of your housemates forgets to lock their window, burglars won’t be able to steal your belongings too. 

Even if you are in the property, you should lock the doors and windows in the rooms which you’re not using. This is especially important if you are out in the garden as you may not hear someone breaking in. In the unlikely event that it’s hot outside, make sure you lock your windows at night. 

If you have any broken locks or if you feel additional locks are required in your property, notify the Mistoria maintenance team immediately and we will come and help. 

In the Garden

If you have gates that lead into your garden, keep them locked. You should also move wheelie bins away from the house so that would-be burglars cannot use them to climb into the property through an accessible window. On bin collection day, move your bins back into your garden or onto your drive; if they are left out on the pavement, your property will look unoccupied and burglars are more likely to strike. 

Keeping Valuables Safe

Another way to prevent burglaries is to make sure your valuables are hidden out of sight. Opportunist thieves may strike if they notice a laptop in the window within easy reach. When you leave your house for the day, you should therefore hide your valuables in drawers. The effect of having your computer stolen will not just be financial though – it will probably have all of your essays and research on it too and losing those could be disastrous for your academic career. 

Furthermore, if you have just purchased a new piece of tech, tear up the box and put it in your recycling bin. Don’t leave it on show next to the bins or in the window, as that will make it obvious to thieves that there is something worth stealing in your property.

Going out

If you plan to have a big night out and everyone in the house will be out, order a taxi to come and pick you up at the end of the road. That way, it won’t be as clear which house is the empty one to anyone who might be watching. The same should be done when you leave your house at the end of the term. 

You should also purchase a light timer so that when you go out it looks like you’re still in. These are fairly inexpensive and can be bought from supermarkets and DIY stores. If it looks like your house is occupied, thieves will be less likely to attempt to burgle the property. 

When you do go home for the holidays, bring all of your valuables with you. The longer a burglary goes unreported, the less likely you’ll be to recover your stolen items; this could be a number of weeks if you’re on holiday. Therefore, take similar precautions to those listed above when you move out over Christmas or Easter; use timers, make sure everything is locked up and make sure the outside of your house is well kept – don’t let rubbish build up in your front garden as unkempt properties often appear less secure. 

Get Insurance

Sometimes, no amount of preparation can stop your house being burgled. That’s why you need to ensure that you purchase contents insurance for your property as soon as you move in. You might think it’s cheaper to take the risk and not pay for insurance, but if your property is burgled, the cost of replacing all of your stolen items can be crippling.

You should also register all of your valuables on the Immobilise website, where you can record the serial number, make and model of your items. If they are recovered by the police, officers will check this online database to try and return your items to you.  

Further Information

If you require more advice or you are concerned about securing your property, get in contact with the team; we’re always happy to help. We’ve also produced advice for landlords on securing their properties, which can be found here. If you are looking for student accommodation for sale, Salford based Mistoria Estate Agents have a range of properties available. 

 

Posted on

Budgeting As A Student

best student accommodation salford

The best day of term for every student is when that all important student loan lands in their bank account. But making that money last can be really tough when you’re trying to juggle the costs of going out, doing the food shopping and buying textbooks. Sow how do you live on a budget during your time at university? We thought we’d write this blog post to provide some guidance.

Create a Budget

Unsurprisingly, the most important part of living on a budget is to come up with a plan of how much you can spend each week. If you’ve never budgeted before, you might find that calculating living costs is quite tough, so talk to whoever pays the bills in your household.

To work out how much money is available to you and to prevent yourself going into your overdraft, divide the amount of money in your bank account after your student loan has dropped and your parents have added some funds (though we know that not everyone’s parents can do this) and divide it by the number of weeks in the term. If you’re prone to overspending on nights out, it might be a good idea to open another bank account where you keep most of your money and just transfer over the amount you need each week.

When you make your plan, be aware that the most important thing you need to budget for is your food bill and your rent. If you’re in a Mistoria house, you can rest assured knowing that the rent you pay includes bills, so you don’t have to spend time worrying about any extra costs. You then need to think about how much you’ll spend on nights out and other social events with friends. Remember that if you go to a university in a big city like Liverpool or Manchester, the price of a night out will be higher than you’re used to. 

If your costs for the first term are higher than anticipated (and they probably will be, what with buying textbooks, joining societies and buying bits and pieces to make your house more like a home) you’ll need to make allowances for that in the following term and cut back somewhere. 

Eating Cheaply

A great way to save money is to shop for food as cheaply as you can. Certain shops like Aldi are well known for having really low prices, but if you prefer to shop elsewhere, look for own brand products as they’re usually considerably cheaper than the brands you know. You should also look at the price per gram shown on shop labels. You’ll often find that something that initially looks like the cheaper option is misleading and that another choice will actually save you money. 

Meal Planning 

When you go food shopping, you should have a weekly meal plan in place and stick to it. If you know exactly what you want, you won’t be tempted to buy any extra stuff you don’t need. When it comes to actually preparing your meals, buy and cook in bulk. Try and prepare four meals worth of food in one go and freeze what you don’t eat. That way, you’ll create less waste and save money at the same time. 

Track What You Buy

When you’ve got money in your bank account, it can be hard not to spend it on impulse purchases. Before buying something though, ask yourself whether you really need it, or whether that brand new t-shirt will just end up at the back of the cupboard with all the others you bought and thought you’d wear. When you do buy something, it’s a good idea to track your spending. You could even go as far as making an Excel spreadsheet to do this. You can then see where you’ve spent your money and if you you realise you’ve been spending a bit too much, you can see where to cut back.           

Get a Student Discount Card

For some great savings, you should definitely get a TOTUM card. You can use it to get more than 200 discounts at some of your favourite  brands, both in-store and online. You can get one for just £32 for three years. 

Travelling by train in the UK can be cripplingly expensive, so it’s just as well you can get a 16-25 Railcard, which gives you a third off rail travel. Whilst you can buy one for £70 for three years, you can also get one for free if you open a student bank account with Santander.  

Renting a House with Mistoria 

Did you know that you can live in a high quality student home without breaking the bank? If you’re on the hunt for some of the best student accommodation in Salford come and see what Mistoria Estate Agents has to offer. Speak to a member of our team to discuss your needs.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

Leaving your Mistoria property

liverpool student lettings

To ensure a smooth exit from your Mistoria Salford or Liverpool student lettings there are a few things we need you, the tenant, to do. Most of it is common sense and involves cleaning up after yourself to ensure the property is left in the same state you found it in when you moved in.

The less cleaning up and maintenance work the Mistoria team have to do at the end of a tenancy, the quicker your deposit can be returned to you, in full.

So we all know where we stand and to ensure a happy outcome, we’ve put together the following check-list so you know what is expected of you before you leave.

Kitchen
Please ensure the fridge freezer is defrosted and that there is no food left inside it, or in the kitchen cupboards.

Do not leave any cutlery, cups, glasses, pots and pans or any other kitchenware behind.

Please clean oven and hob. We recommend ‘Oven Pride’. This is a fairly cheap product that can be purchased from any leading supermarket. (Please ensure you read and follow the instructions on the packaging when using this product).

Bathroom
Please ensure the seal around bath/shower is cleaned and that no bathroom products are left behind. Please ensure bath/shower plugholes are draining and that there are no blockages (from hair for example).

Bedrooms
Please ensure no personal items are left behind. When cleaning your bedroom, please pull-out and clean behind the bed and wardrobe. For safety, ask another housemate to help you with this as these can be heavy items.

Floors and Surfaces
Please ensure that all surfaces all cleaned (desks, wardrobes, windowsills, etc). Ensure all carpets have been hoovered and floors mopped, where applicable. Please empty the hoover when finished.

Rubbish
Remove all rubbish from the property and ensure it is placed into the correct bins. (Failure to place the rubbish in the correct bins may result in the council refusing to empty the bins. Should this happen, tenants will incur a charge for this removal).

Please note, if any rubbish is left behind, you will be charged. This is classed as Tenants Damage and can be deducted from your deposit.

If you have had any pictures or posters etc. hanging on the walls of your bedrooms, please ensure no marks are left from blue tac, Sellotape, etc.

If you would like any further advice regarding what could be classed as Tenant Damage in your property please do not hesitate to call Ian, the Mistoria Maintenance Manager, on 07794 913 390. He will be more than happy to help.

If your property is left in the same condition as when you were given the keys, we will endeavour to return your deposit within 14 days of the final utility bills being received by Mistoria.

Posted on

Student house deposit procedure and quarterly inspections

student house deposit

As Mistoria Estate Agents tenants, you should already be aware of our deposit procedure. It is laid out in detail in your tenancy agreement. However, we still get asked lots of questions about deposits and we’re always looking for ways to improve our processes and communications with our tenants to ensure the best possible outcome for all concerned when it comes to returning deposits at the end of the tenancy. With this in mind, we thought it worth highlighting again how we handle your student house deposit, and some improvements we have put in place to ensure we’re all happy at the end of the year.

Last year there were a few delays on our part in returning deposits in a timely manner to a small number of tenants. This was an internal issue that we have since addressed and put right, however the situation inevitably caused some upset to those affected and we were determined to take tenant comments on board and make changes where necessary. We took the opportunity to look at the whole deposit process and how we can do things differently to avoid similar problems in the future.

The biggest change is the increased focus on our Quarterly Inspections. Going forward we will use these to help us identify any possible issues in plenty of time before the end of the tenancy, and inform tenants in writing of these issue so they may be rectified before vacating the property.

To give this some context, there are four reasons why deductions may be made from your deposit:

  • If you are in rent arrears
  • Late (rent) payment fees
  • If you have caused damage to the property
  • If you have exceeded your utility usage (gas, electric and internet)

Quarterly inspections of the property should enable us to identify the above, giving all a full audit trail of any damages, and time to act on them.

Here’s how the whole process works:

  • Inventories are carried out at the beginning of tenancy to represent the condition of the property on move in
  • Any maintenance will be picked up during quarterly inspections and tenants will be notified in writing of any possible tenant damages shortly after to allow opportunity to rectify them.
  • Photo evidence is taken at quarterly inspections which will show any damages and also show if the tenants have rectified between inspections to the end of the tenancy. A final dated photo will be taken on check out for any outstanding damages that are to be deducted from the deposit.
  • Utility usage is notified to tenants on a quarterly basis, this way any over-usage is known before move out and also gives tenants the chance to alter the usage in the property throughout the year. This will help to reduce or eradicate any deductions for utility usage exceeding the CAP stated in the tenancy agreement from the deposit.
  • A final check out will be carried out on move out and any damages notified to the tenants on the quarterly inspections will be checked to see if rectified. If not then the cost to repair will be deducted from the deposit.
  • Tenants are also advised to take their own photos on move out to use if there are any disputes.

Tenants will be notified of the inspection dates in advance and the appropriate 48 hours notice will be given.

We hope the inspection system will help improve transparency and a better relationship with our tenants. Everyone will know where they stand and any potential delays to deposit returns at the end of the year should hopefully be avoided.

If you have any further questions about our student house deposit procedure or quarterly inspections, please call 0800 500 3015.

Posted on

UK’s continued membership of the European Union

On 23 June 2016, a hotly contested debate on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union culminated in a public vote narrowly in favor of the “leave” campaign. The full implications of the referendum – including exactly when the UK will commence its exit (“Brexit”) and the terms on which it will do so – are as yet uncertain, and likely to remain so for some time.

With Prime Minister David Cameron committed to stepping down by October, the coming months will see the country gain a new prime minister, and possibly hold a general election – in turn shaping the negotiating point from which the UK commences exit talks. Once Article 50 is formally invoked, there is then a two-year negotiating window, and it’s unlikely there will be any significant changes until this is closed.
Once the process is complete, what could Brexit mean for students from the EU, UK and elsewhere?

Fees and financial aid

One of the most pressing questions for current EU students in the UK, and those intending to enroll in the near future, is whether tuition fees will change. Many UK universities have already issued public statements pledging to maintain current fee levels for existing EU students until the end of their studies, as well as those about to commence studies in the 2016/17 academic year. The Student Loans Company (SLC) has also confirmed that EU nationals who are already studying in England, or about to commence studies, will remain eligible for the loans and grants that currently apply, throughout the duration of their course.
In the longer term, it seems likely that EU students will have to pay the higher fee rates that apply to those from outside of the EU. However, those looking on the brighter side have pointed out that the the pound’s fall in value, if sustained, could make studying in the UK more affordable for all international students.

Visas and work

With immigration controls so central to the Brexit debate, it is likely that new regulations will be introduced in the near future (though probably not until the two-year negotiating period is over). If the UK withdraws from existing agreements on freedom of movement, future EU students may need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa or a short-term study visa, in order to study in the UK. However, it’s also possible that the government will revise visa conditions in light of the changing situation, introducing new processes or requirements either for EU students or for all internationals.
It is likely the UK government will eventually set a new target for overall immigration numbers, and introduce a points-based visa system for incoming EU nationals. It is not clear whether international students will be included in this overall number, but the new points-based system would apply to those intending to work in the country after completing a degree. Currently, the most common visas for working in the UK, including Tier 2 (General), require applicants to have a job offer in place before applying for a visa. If this remains the case, life could become significantly more difficult for EU nationals. But it is possible the UK will reach some form of compromise on the freedom of movement issue, perhaps by introducing a grace period in which graduates and other EU citizens can search for work within the UK.

Outbound mobility from the UK

When we spoke to students a few months ago, many UK students said they were concerned Brexit would limit their opportunities to study, travel and work elsewhere in the EU. During the 2013/14 academic year, 15,566 UK students participated in Erasmus study and work placements, and this number has grown significantly in recent years (by 115% from 2007). UK students studying full degree programs on the continent currently pay significantly lower tuition fees than they would at home in many cases, as well as enjoying all the benefits that come from international experience.
It’s likely that in future, UK students will face higher fees in many (though not all) European countries, as they move into the ‘non-EU’ category. They will also need to apply for student visas, and in some cases may have reduced rights to work during and after their studies. British students will also presumably no longer be eligible for Erasmus funding – or not to the current extent – though of course UK universities will strive to maintain strong exchange partnerships within and beyond Europe.

Research funding & collaboration

What about those pursuing research-based programs and careers in the UK? Following the referendum result, British researchers have voiced concerns about the potential loss in EU funding – which currently amounts to almost £1 billion annually. There are also concerns about the potential decline in incoming talent; 16% of researchers at British universities currently come from other EU states. Research partnerships between institutions may also decrease, and – if you listen to the most pessimistic predictions – industry investment could fall, while borrowing may become more difficult (and expensive) for universities and the government.
From the more positive side, the strong reputation, facilities and relationships of UK universities will certainly not disappear overnight, and the UK higher education sector is strongly united in its determination to maintain current levels of opportunity for all students and faculty members. No doubt the nation’s universities and students – both domestic and international – will be important voices in the discussions yet to come.