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The Tenant Tax: Advice for Landlords

student houses north west

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, North West 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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New Homes Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018

fitness for human habitation act

On 20 March 2019, the new Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into force to make sure that rented houses and flats are ‘fit for human habitation’. With this new act, tenants are given the right to sue landlords who fail to adequately maintain their properties. The new act is an update to the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985. It extends to England and Wales; however, its practical changes are only for England. Wales maintains its own fitness consultations.

What is the new law about?

We must stress that there are no new obligations for landlords under this Act; the legislation requires landlords to ensure that they are meeting their existing responsibilities with regards to property standards and safety.

The Act is designed to prevent tenants from having to endure unsafe or unsanitary conditions of their rented homes. The Act must make the landlords responsible for the condition of their rented houses and flats and prevent causing serious harm to the tenants.

The Act gives tenants who encounter such situations legal grounds to take their landlords to court if they persist in not maintaining their property in a condition that makes it ‘fit for human habitation’.

If a landlord is found guilty on these grounds he can be sentenced to pay compensation to the tenant or require the landlord to repair the property adequately to be healthy and safe again.

The Fitness for Human Habitation Act applies to tenants who live in private or social rented houses and flats. The type of housing, the way of paying rent, housing benefit or universal credit does not affect the application of the act. The Act applies immediately for signed lease contracts on or after 20th March 2019. Tenants who signed the contract before 20th March 2019 will have to wait until 20th March 2020 before being able to claim rights on the Act against their landlords. However, they can turn to the local council to act on their behalf and take action on the matter, but only when the conditions of the home are dangerous or inhuman.

The new Act amends the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985, outlining what constitutes a property to be unfit for human habitation. Such issues which classify a property as ‘unfit’ and need to be reported are:

•    Damp and mould growth
•    Excess cold
•    Excess heat
•    Asbestos and MMF
•    Biocides
•    Carbon monoxide and fuel combustion products
•    Lead
•    Radiation
•    Uncombusted fuel gas
•    Volatile organic compounds
•    Crowding and space
•    Entry by intruders
•    Lighting
•    Noise
•    Domestic hygiene, pests, and refuse
•    Food safety (inadequate provisions)
•    Personal hygiene, sanitation, and drainage
•    Water supply
•    Falls (baths, between levels, level surfaces, and stairs)
•    Electrical hazards
•    Fire
•    Flames, hot surfaces etc
•    Collision and entrapment
•    Explosions
•    Position and operability of amenities etc
•    Structural collapse and falling elements

There are several exceptions when it comes to the responsibility of the landlord to fix certain problems such as problems caused by irresponsible or illegal tenant behaviour. Other examples are events completely beyond the landlord’s control (also called “acts of God”), repair possessions or furniture belonging to previous tenants which were not included in the inventory at the beginning of the lease.

As with any new regulations, only time will tell exactly how it is interpreted by the courts, and whether there will be unintended consequences.

What landlords should know

For all landlords, the Fitness for Human Habitation Act means they must make sure that the provided property is fit for human habitation. The property needs to be free from any possibility that the state of the property can cause harm to the tenants or anyone in the household. There is a list of issues that can make the property to be classified as unfitted. The Act makes primarily the landlord responsible for the habitation circumstances of the rented property.

Not all unfit properties are being reported to landlords or agents. Sometimes it is the tenants who create an unhealthy environment for themselves without being aware. For example, inadequate ventilation of the property; drying clothes indoors on the radiator with no windows open causes condensation and moisture to build up, causing damped walls. For landlords to be sure tenants are taking good care of the rented property should conduct regular inspections and maintenance routines.

It is important to bare in mind that a thorough inspection needs to be undertaken before the tenancy has begun. It is advised to let the tenant be present during the inspection. Of course, there will be tenants who will refuse access for inspections knowing they are responsible for an unsafe environment. In this case, the landlord cannot be held responsible. To prevent tenants creating an unsafe environments for themselves, landlords should provide tips on a diverse range of maintenance subjects to the tenants. They should also let the tenants sign a declaration stating their responsibility for damage or creating an unhealthy environment. Keeping records regarding tenant inspections and correspondence regarding property problems may come handy when presenting proof of repair and maintenance if the parties end up in court.

Overall most landlords needn’t worry too much about the new act. A well-maintained property shouldn’t be deemed unfit. Only those whose properties suffer from serious disrepair issues should be affected.

At Mistoria Estate Agents we take on property maintenance responsibilities for our landlords. Our service means you don’t have to worry about keeping up to date with the latest legislation changes and how to implement them; our experienced team of letting agents are here to do this for you. We will ensure your property in compliant with this, the new Fitness for Human Habitation Act, and any other rental property regulation. You can trust us to take good care of your property, and your tenants. Contact on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.

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Pet-friendly rental property

pet friendly rental property

In the UK, an estimated 12 million households own together around 51 million pets. Recent research carried out by Zoopla discovered that there’s a growing trend in the search for “pet-friendly” rental property. The term ‘pets’ ranked as the third most searched keyword in the latest analysis of the nation’s most sought-after features for rental homes. The ownership of pets is increasing and could represent great opportunities for landlords to invest in line with this growing trend.

The outcome of the research

Zoopla’s discovery of the growing search for pet-friendly rental homes compliments another research on the matter. SpareRoom recently undertook research on the same subject. This research showed that almost 4 out of 5 tenants who own one or more animal have struggled to find pet-friendly accommodation. The study also revealed that 78% of tenants experienced difficulties finding adequate housing due to the majority of landlords not being keen about tenants keeping pets and refuse to allow them. As a matter of fact, 69% will not allow pets in their properties. 21% of tenants surveyed admitted that they currently own a pet without their landlord’s knowledge

As for the reasons landlords refuse pets in their property, 57% cited the smell, 55% are concerned about pets causing potential damage to the property and 37% admitted concern over whether the pet was properly trained. Oddly enough, 88% of pet owners claim they have never experienced any complaints or even caused damage to the property, in contrast to the concerns of landlords.

Benefits of Pet-Friendly Rental Property

Despite landlords’ reservations, there are benefits of allowing pets in rented properties. One of the benefits being the possibility of having a larger potential tenant pool. Having a larger group to choose from allows the landlord to pick the best-suited tenants for their property.  Due to the difficulty in finding other pet-friendly rental housing motivates pet owners to rent for longer in the same location, which can reduce void periods and therefore give landlords a better return on their investment.

The biggest benefit for landlords is money related. The increase in demand gives landlords stronger bargaining power to charge higher rent. Especially when there are few pet-friendly properties around the area. Some surveys have shown pet owners to have a higher income than average , meaning they may be willing to spend more when the property suits their demands.

Pet owners are often mature and take good care of their pet showing their responsibility, a desirable quality for property owners when accepting tenants. Likely these potential tenants will treat the property with care and with respect.

One can argue the social and ethical benefits of allowing pets in properties. Having pets around can have a positive effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of tenants, they can reduce stress and make the owner feel happier. By allowing animals in a property, owners don’t have to sneak in their pets which can result in unwanted conflict between landlord and tenant.

Cons of Pet-Friendly Rental Property

As mentioned before, landlords have multiple reasons why they don’t allow pets, the biggest concern being pet odours. There are ways to decrease or limit odours, including using a professional cleaning firm at the end of a tenancy. However, well trained pets and responsible owners shouldn’t have a problem with pet associated smells.

The potential damage to a property; chewed up carpets and furniture, scratches on the floor and doors and even noise disturbance, are concerns for landlords. Again, properly trained animals with sensible owners are unlikely to display this type of behaviour. Some pets even copy the character of their owner and often won’t miss behave if their owner respects the property.

Some landlords admit concern about the risk of animal liability, particularly biting and other aggressive behaviour when improperly trained. This is a reasonable concern but with good communication and by asking the right questions about a potential owners’ pets, a landlord can gain a better impression of the animal and whether the tenant and their pet(s) are right for the property.

When it comes to HMO properties and house shares, there is always the possibility of losing other tenants when allowing pets into a property. Some tenants may have allergies relating to certain animals or have other personal reasons for not wanting to live with a pet. In order to lower the possibility of losing current tenants, a landlord should make clear to all tenants at the beginning of a tenancy, even those without a pet, if a property is pet-friendly or not.

Pet-friendly Rental Property at Mistoria

Whilst the issue around pet-friendly rental property continues to be one that is hotly debated, at Mistoria we believe in keeping a track of current property market trends and feeding this back to our landlords. Pet-friendly rentals are an area we are often asked about and is something we are advising our landlords on. There will always be landlords that do not wish to allow animals in their property and this is something we fully respect. For those who are more lenient, we hope to work with them to find a happy-medium and a way for us to work together to find and manage suitable tenancies involving pet ownership.

At Mistoria Estate Agents we’re an open-minded, professional team who work hard to build good relationships with both the landlords and tenants we serve. We’re keen to educate both sides on sensible property management and work with all concerned to deliver successful and long-term tenancies.

If you own a rental property and would like help with tenant sourcing and management please get in touch. Similarly, if you’re a tenant searching for a particular type of rental property to meet your needs, please contact us. Call 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.

Summer photo created by freepic.diller – www.freepik.com

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Tenant Fees Bill

Tenant Fees Bill

It has been announced that the Tenant Fees Bill is set to come into force on 1st June 2019.

The Bill will ban letting fees paid by tenants in the private rented sector and cap tenancy deposits in England. The ban will apply to all tenancies signed after 1st June.

The aim of the Bill is to deliver a fairer, good quality and more affordable private rented sector by reducing the costs that tenants pay at the beginning and throughout a tenancy and improving the relationship between tenants and landlords.

The ban will allow tenants to see how much a property will cost them with no hidden costs.

For landlords, this means you will only be allowed to take payment for rent and deposits from tenants. There are just three other ‘default fees’ you will be able to charge a tenant for, and they will also be limited;

Damages
If a tenant causes damage to your property beyond reasonable wear and tear, you may charge them for the cost to repair the damage.

Loss of keys
You may charge the tenant for the cost of replacing them and reasonable costs and evident must be provided in writing (receipts etc). You cannot charge for your time or inconvenience.

Late rent payment
You can charge 3% above the Bank of England base rate in interest.

Landlords can still charge for changes to a tenancy requested by the tenant. £50 would be considered the norm and any charge above this would need to be justified. If tenant wants to leave the contract early, they will be liable to pay the rent up to a maximum of the length of the fixed term of the contract.

Deposits will also be restricted to the equivalent of five weeks rent where annual rent is below £50k.

Failure to comply

Failure to comply with the Tenant Fees Ban could land you in a whole heap of trouble. If you charge a fee that is not permitted, tenants will be able to reclaim the money they have paid, plus interest, via the county court. Trading standards will also have the authority to fine you up to £30k.

You will also be unable to serve a Section 21 notice if you have charged a tenant a fee where you shouldn’t have and kept the money.

How Mistoria Estate Agents can help

At Mistoria Estate Agents, we can manage your buy to let property, including tenant finding and management, on your behalf. This means we can take the burden out of staying compliant with new areas of legislation, including the Tenant Fees Ban. Let us do the hard work of managing your investment whilst you get on with the other areas of your life. Call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk to see how we can help you.

A full guide to the Tenant Fees Ban can be found on the RLA website www.rla.org.uk/feeban.

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‘Right to Rent’ breaches human rights

right to rent

The High Court has ruled that the current ‘Right to Rent’ checks breach human rights.

The scheme requires landlords and letting agents to check the immigration status of tenants by checking their passport or visas and has been in force across England since 2016. Failing to do so is a criminal offence, carrying a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment or a fine.

The scheme was introduced under the 2014 Immigration Act which aimed to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the UK.

In a review of the process, brought by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), judges said the policy had “little or no effect” on its aim of controlling immigration.

It said evidence “strongly showed” the scheme was causing landlords to discriminate against potential tenants because of their nationality or ethnicity, something the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) agrees with. The RLA has welcomed the ruling saying the scheme had turned landlords into “untrained and unwilling border police.” RLA research had found that fear of getting things wrong led to private landlords being less likely to rent to those without a British passport or those with limited time to remain in the UK.

This discriminatory attitude of landlords, through fear of possible prosecution under the Right to Rent scheme, has in part, led to the High Court ruling.

On the flip-side, the Home Office said it was “disappointed” by the ruling and said an independent study found no evidence of systematic discrimination in its policy and the scheme was intended to discourage illegal residence in the UK. The government are expected to appeal against the decision.

What does all this mean for landlords?

For the moment, nothing changes. Landlords and letting agents in England are required to continuing checking applications has they have been doing.

If you are a landlord and require assistance managing the tenants, and/or maintenance of your property, Mistoria Estate Agents can help. Let us take the hard work out of being a landlord and ensure you comply with current regulations, including Right to Rent checks. Call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.

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How to avoid pest infestation problems

pest infestation problems

A recent study carried out by a manufacturer and retailer of blinds, shutters, carpets and curtains showed that 64% of Brits who have experienced a pest infestation in their property were renting at the time. Of the 2,000-people surveyed, 57% responded that they had encountered problems related to pest at some point within their home.

Most of us have once encountered some creepy crawlies in our homes. However, dealing with a recurring infestation is a totally different situation, which may become expensive and stressful at the same time. There are many reasons why a pest infestation may occur. It is worth establishing what exactly led to such a situation, in order to prevent it from occurring in the future. If disrepair of property is the reason for creatures making their way inside and there is a noticeable presence of pest and vermin, it can be a health and safety hazard for who is currently living in the property.

One reason rental properties may be more prone to infestations could be a lack of (understanding of) responsibility. Just who’s job is it to prevent and deal with pests? Is it the tenant or the landlord? With each side (perhaps) presuming the other is on top of upkeep in the home, those pesky pests can make their way in and quickly cause havoc.

At Mistoria Estate Agents we want to remind our tenants of their responsibilities when it comes to preventing pest infestations. At the same time, we want to highlight to other landlords their responsibility when it comes to maintaining their properties to avoid pest problems, and how using a full service letting agent like Mistoria Estate Agents can means we take on that responsibility for you.

Tips to avoid pest infestations

These tips apply to landlords and tenants alike.

In short, if there is disrepair in the property concerning holes in the floor, walls or ceiling, it is the responsibility of the landlord to deal with and solve the pest problem before tenants move in to the property and during the tenancy. However, if poor hygiene and upkeep of the property is the issue, it’s the tenants that need to up their game.

The first and best pest control method is to prevent your property from becoming vulnerable to pests in the first place. When the pest infestation does enter the property, it can be costly to get rid of and repair the havoc caused by the pest.

Communication between landlords and tenants is important as most of the time it is the tenant who will first notice the signs of a pest problem. It would suit the landlord to occasionally check upon the tenants, to see if they have noticed anything that needs further attention. Periodic inspections of the inside and outside of the property can help landlords and tenants to catch troubling pest issues at an early stage. It is advised all rental property undergo quarterly checks to ensure there is no damage or concerns.

Keeping the place clean and tidy is as important as checking for damage. Pests will be attracted to anything that could be seen as a food source. Landlord should inform tenants, via the tenancy agreement, that they must keep the property clean and tidy. Keeping surfaces and floors clean, especially of food, storing leftover food in containers and not leaving rubbish bags unsealed and lying around will help to keep pests away.

The outside area surrounding the property also needs attention. Keeping the area clear from any rubbish and old furniture prevents the chance for pests to build nests in them. Keeping food outside for wildlife such as bird seeds can attract pests to the property. To prevent this, it is recommended to elevated food from the ground and away from the house. This can be easily done by investing in a bird table or feeding stations for the wildlife.

Advice when you have a pest infestation

If there are noticeable signs of damage caused by any infestation, you need to get in touch with your local council’s environmental health department. They should provide you with the details of a pest control service near you and can give you information depending on which species is causing the problem. Alternatively, they may advise you on what to do to sort out the problem yourself, if the problem is manageable.

Private pest control companies are always an option when the problem is not self-manageable. If you choose to hire a private company resolve the problem, it’s going to cost you. It could even cost more than the fees charged by the council. It is always worth a quick call around for some quotes to find out prices differences.

Bear in mind that some landlord or property insurances may provide coverage of the costs and help in such situations. Often a standard policy covers costs for nest removal. Having the right insurance coverage in place can be worth it, as it may save you time and money in case of pest infestation removal.

Mistoria tenants and landlords

In the first instant, Mistoria Estate Agent tenants should contact us to report any pest problems and we will be able to advise you on the next steps. We may need to visit the property to assess the situation and determine how we move forward. Remember, it is the tenants responsibility to maintain good hygiene habits to prevent pests, however if the disrepair of the property is at fault, the landlord/letting agent must repair the problem. If you’re a landlord and would like to know more about your responsibilities and how Mistoria Estate Agents can help manage your property, please call us on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.

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What Property Checks Must a Landlord Make?

Property Checks for Landlords

Property Checks for Landlords

When you make a property investment for a buy-to-let or HMO property, you become a landlord and need to be aware that there are many different legal checks that a letting agent must carry out on behalf of the landlord. This month for example it was announced by the Government that landlords will be required by law to make sure that inspectors they hire to carry out electrical safety inspections have the necessary competence and qualifications to do so.

The Government also said that it will press ahead with plans first announced last year to introduce regulations requiring landlords to undertake five yearly safety checks of electrical installations in their properties. The new law doesn’t have a date set yet for introduction and will be phased in when it does begin, but good practice would be to start these checks now so there is no issue in the future.

When you hire a letting agent to look after your investment portfolio you need to ensure that they are covering these legally required checks for you as you will also be held responsible if something goes wrong. Here are some other key safety regulations you need to be aware of:

Gas Safety Checks

An annual gas safety check must be performed by a Gas Safe Registered engineer at no longer than 12 months intervals and copies of the certificate given to the tenant.

Fire Safety Order

There must be a risk assessment in place to comply with the Fire Safety Order. It should be in writing.#

Electrical Appliances

If your property is furnished with electrical appliances it is the landlords responsibility to ensure that they are safe when you start a new let. It is also advisable to perform regular tests of any portable appliances to ensure they are safe.

Fire alarms and fire safety

The landlord is responsible for ensuring any fire alarm systems are checked regularly. It also a requirement that you make sure that the means of escape from the property ,such as the hallways ,stairs and landings, are unobstructed.

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

Landlords (in England) are required to provide smoke alarms on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in every room which has a solid fuel source.

This is not a full list of all of your paperwork and certification requirements but an illustration of the considerable amount of work needed to keep yourself compliant.

Mistoria Group celebrates 1o years this year of working on behalf of investors who become landlords through their HMO investment portfolio and during this time has built up an expert team at Mistoria Estate agents who have many hundreds of properties under management.

If you are thinking of making an HMO investment you also need to consider who will be your agent once you have purchased the property. We would love to talk to you about our services. Please give us a call on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk to drop us a line.

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Home security advice for landlords

landlord safety responsibilities

Security was recently revealed as one of tenants’ top three concerns, so it’s worth spending some time and a little money on ensuing they feel safe in your property. Many landlords don’t realise they have a level of responsibility to make sure a property offers security for tenants.

Locks

It is a legal requirement for a landlord to provide a secure lock to external entrances. For wooden front doors should be made of solid timber and fitted with a five-lever mortice deadlock that can be locked on either side. External uPVC doors should have a three-point multi-locking system.

Patio doors are a target for intruders so they too should have solid locks and be fitted with double-glazed casement windows.

All windows on the property should have lockable handles.

Other ways to make your property safer include fitting window locks to non-escape windows and installing door chains.

Lights

Motion-activated external security lights will help tenants feel safer when leaving or entering a property during hours of darkness, whilst also deterring would-be burglars.

Another good deterrent are timer switches inside the property, which can be used by tenants to set lights to come on even when they’re not home.

The garden

If your property has a garden, ensuring your tenants keep the bushes and hedges trimmed will mean one less place for burglars to hide, a clearer escape route in the event of a fire and less potential for a trip or fall due to overgrown shrubbery.

A clause about simple garden maintenance in your tenancy agreement should suffice.

Fire hazards

Landlords are required, by law, to install working smoke alarms in all rental property.

Any electrical appliances you provide; fridges, washing machines, ovens, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, etc, must undergo annual electrical safety testing by a qualified electrician and a certificate of proof provided to the tenant.

Gas safety checks must also be carried out every year, again by a registered gas safety engineer and a certificate issued. This includes your boiler and cooker or hob if they are run by gas.

You might consider asking tenants to carry out weekly or monthly checks of the smoke alarms in the property by including this in their tenancy agreement. Similarly, a ban on smoking and the use of candles in the property will also reduce the risk of fire.

Intruder alarm

An intruder alarm can help keep your property and your tenant safe. Devices that emit sound and light when motion is detected, as well as when a connection is lost, say on a door or window, are most effective.

Insurance cover

Landlord insurance is vital, and you must make sure you have valid cover in place before you rent out your property. Tailored landlord cover may include loss of rent, property owners’ liability, alternative accommodation and landlord home emergency cover.

For tenants, we strongly recommend they have appropriate contents insurance to cover their own belongings as well as accidental damage they may cause to their rental property, furniture or fixtures or fittings.

Tenant security packs

Tenant packs are a great way of providing your tenants with all the necessary information they need about the property. Include codes for alarms and emergency contact numbers. Instructions on where everything is kept and how to keep the property safe.

At Mistoria Estate Agents we issue all tenants with a Welcome Pack detailing everything from security measures to deposits, dos and don’t to inventories and inspections.

If you’re a landlord with Mistoria Estate Agents we can offer you a variety of highly professional and tailored property management solutions, including full property servicing and management, and tenant finding services. If you choose, we can ensure all aspects of home security are taken care of as part of our landlord management service. This means peace of mind for you that your property and your tenants are well looked after, and that you are compliant with all legal aspects of landlord safety responsibilities.

For more information on how Mistoria Estate Agents can help manage your investment property please call the team on 0800 500 3015 or email info@mistoria.co.uk.

Background photo created by topntp26 – www.freepik.com

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A Landlord’s Guide to Periodic Inspections

landlord inspections

It’s very important to carryout periodic inspections throughout each tenancy to ensure your property is in a reasonable state and your tenants are complying with the tenancy agreement.

You should evaluate the overall condition of the property, including both the interior and exterior.

Periodic inspections are typically conducted on a quarterly basis, but can be reduced to bi-yearly after frequent, positive inspections to the same tenants.

At Mistoria Estate Agents, we conduct these regular inspections on your behalf as part of our standard landlord service. We supply all our landlords with a report afterwards detailing the condition of the property and any problems uncovered.

To ensure piece of mind that your property is being taken care of, here are some of the things we check for:

Repairs and maintenance issues
The primary objective of a periodic inspection is to spot any obvious maintenance issues. However, it is the perfect opportunity to uncover and repair any minor problems, before they spiral out of control and become major issues. Remember that it’s always easier and cheaper to repair problems at their early stages. Something simple, such as a small leak, can transform into a terrible disaster if it’s neglected for too long. Relying on tenants to report issues isn’t enough to ensure that everything is in working order. While most tenants will report serious issues, many won’t report the small ones until it’s too late. Moreover, some tenants – through no fault of their own – will be completely unaware of potential problems. For example, they may have become accustomed to the smell of damp, but you will notice it as soon as you walk through the door. It is always wise to have a fresh pair of eyes (and a nose) to look over the property.

Tenants’ living conditions
While the property may be in a generally good condition, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your tenants are looking after your investment. Although you may not be able to evict them based on their living conditions, you may decide that you do not wish to renew the contract at the end of the tenancy agreement. As a landlord, you cannot tell your tenant how to live if they are untidy, but if we find that they are unclean, we can inform them that this will resort in damage to the property. For instance, if they leave clothes hanging around, that is their lifestyle choice, but if they do not clean the bathrooms, this could result in staining of the fixtures and fittings.

Some more specific areas of inspection will include:

Damp and mould
Damp and mould are some of the most important issues to look out for, as the tenant often overlooks them. Many tenants simply don’t realise how dangerous and serious mould infestations can be, but you must be aware of them. We will look around windows and sinks, and pay special attention to rooms prone to moisture, such as the bathroom and kitchen, as well as pipework hidden away in kitchen units, and ensure that all extractor fans work – this will help to prevent mould infestations in the future.

Leaks
We run all of the taps in your property to check for any leaks. Leaks can be one of the main causes of mould and rot, which can have devastating effects on the health of your tenants and condition of the property. We will also check the drains outside for blockages to ensure that water is not overflowing, as this can lead to much bigger problems.

Fixtures and fittings
We give all of the fixtures and fittings – and any other items you have provided – within the property a once over to check that they are in a good condition and suitable working order.

The garden
If a clause in your tenancy agreement specifies that the tenant must maintain the garden(s), we will check that it is neat and not overgrown. We will make sure also there are no piles of rubbish in the outside areas, as these can attract pests and other unwanted wildlife.

The loft
It is very unlikely that your tenants will pay attention to the loft, so we will have a quick look around with a torch to check for any leaks, holes or rodents.

Fair wear and tear
A common dilemma with periodic inspections is that there is often a fine line between fair wear and tear and actual damage. You must remember that you can only make your tenants liable for damage, not fair wear and tear. As we look around the property, we will consider which issues were caused by reasonable use of the property on a daily basis (such as scuff marks on the walls).

We understand your property is your investment. As such, part of our service to you as valued landlord, is to ensure your property is fit for purpose, in good working order and is being looked after by your tenants. If you are a landlord and would like to discuss in more detail the service Mistoria Estate Agents can offer you, please contact us on 0800 500 3015.

Some parts of this article were taken from an article first published by Just Landlords in November 2016.

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Mistoria Group continues expansion with purchase of Student Haus

Mistoria Group, owners of Mistoria Estate Agents, North West specialists in residential and student property sales and lettings, have purchased “Student Haus”, the Salford based lettings and estate agency who have approximately 150 properties under management across the whole of Manchester and Salford.

The acquisition of the business is part of Mistoria’s continuing growth strategy and follows on from the launch of their third estate agency office in Bolton and the acquisition of Pick My Pad announced earlier this year. All Student Haus staff will continue in the new business and the brand will continue to trade under its own name. They currently manage properties for more than 100 landlords covering city centre locations based around the main universities in Manchester and Salford.

Mish Liyanage, Managing Director of student property investment specialist The Mistoria Group comments: “We are delighted to take over the management of Student Haus, including properties, landlords and tenants and to consolidate our position in Salford. Dilan and Edouard have done a great job with Student Digz / Haus over the last 5 years in Salford by building Student Haus into a very a successful business.

“I am glad that they both chose Mistoria to sell their business so that they can both pursue their academic interest. I fervently believe there is a market for both Mistoria and Student Haus brands hence we will continue to trade under both brands in Salford with Hannah Goodman heading the Student Haus division. Over the next few next few months we will be implementing best practices in both businesses that will benefit both our tenants and landlords.”

Commenting on the sale Dilan Omari-Clark said: “We started the company when we were 23 years old after graduating from University. The past 5 years have been a great adventure and we are proud of what we have achieved.

It felt like the right time to sell and we are now ready to take on the next challenge. We are pleased that Mistoria have taken on our staff and we wish Mistoria all the best for the future.”

The Mistoria Group are high yielding student buy-to-let investment specialists, offering HMOs and armchair investments in the North of UK, generating combined net cash yield up to 13% (Rental and Capital Growth). For more information on the firm’s current available investments and the services we offer email us at info@mistoriagroup.com or call 0800 500 3015.