Mistoria Estate Agents, part of the Mistoria Group, specialists in residential and student property sales and lettings, is opening their third office in the heart of Bolton to cater for the growing demand they see in the area. This will be Mistoria’s third estate agency office in the North West following on from their first two locations in Salford and Liverpool.
The new office located at 21a Market Street, Little Lever, Bolton, BL3 1HH will serve the residential property market as well as offering lettings for students and professionals. Mistoria have operated from their Headquarters in Salford since 2009 and expanded initially into Liverpool three years ago.
Mish Liyanage, Managing Director of The Mistoria Group comments: “We have had a great 12 months and are now expanding our business into Bolton as we see great opportunities there for a quality supplier. Our new team has been carefully selected for their local knowledge and they are raring to go.”
“Since we began operations in 2009 we have seen continuous growth and this expansion into Bolton will not be our last. With our expertise in the North West property market, we’ve been able to concentrate on providing the key services that landlords, tenants and those looking to buy and sell their property really want. We’re excited about the future of the region and the great opportunities there are for us.”
With an opening offer to sell your home for just £750 the Mistoria team are competing against both traditional “bricks and mortar” agents as well as the newer online companies. Mish commented further “We have invested heavily over the last few months in our technology platforms and will market our customer’s properties through the market leading property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla as well as through our own websites and traditional channels.”
The Bolton branch will be holding an open day to celebrate their launch where homeowners looking to sell their property, those wishing to buy or rent a home, as well as landlords searching for a local agent can come along and meet the team. Full details will be announced soon.
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 it offers, visit us at www.mistoriagroup.com or email at email@example.com or call 0800 500 3015.
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.
There’s lots going on throughout the academic year, and we understand that studies, sports and socials sometimes take priority to your responsibility in your student house. So, we thought it worth reminding you of your duties as a Mistoria tenant.
When you first moved in, you and your housemates will have been told how we expect you to behave and look after your property whilst you’re living there, but here’s a reminder of your the simple dos and don’ts…
Keep the property clean and tidy at all times – common sense, surely you do this at home, so why not in your term-time house.
No food to be left/eaten in bedrooms – we know you do this, but be smart and don’t leave evidence of it.
No Blu-Tac on walls – it causes grease marks.
Rubbish to be removed, do not pile up bags in the yard – again, common sense, who wants to live in a rubbish tip?
Keep all rooms vented – open windows a little whilst you’re at home, use extractor fans in bathroom when showering and the kitchen when cook, or open the windows and back door.
Tenants are shown how to top up boiler, clean out hoover and clean out filters in washing machine – stuff you may not have known before to a little maintenance on your part will ensure these essential; household items stay in a good state or repair and effective working order.
Tenants to be shown what the likely cause of black mould is and shown how to avoid black mould and condensation in the property by using the silent fans as well as opening the windows and doors frequently – as in point 5, plus don’t put wet clothes directly on radiators. Also see our dedicated condensation page.
Smoking is NOT allowed in properties, especially Cannabis – make your student house a nice environment for everyone and smoke outside, away from open windows and doors.
Drug taking is Forbidden. Any form of recreation drugs are Forbidden – it’s illegal. End of.
Baby wipes/wetwipes and kitchen roll must be disposed of in a bin and NOT flushed down the toilet – these wipes do not break down like toilet tissues and can cause blockages.
Shower plugs to be kept clean as they will clog with hair – a quick wipe with some toilet roll after each shower should do the trick.
Use boiler timers or set rooms stats – this help keep the house pleasant, stops mould and prevents pipes from freezing in cold weather.
INTERNET – Downloading/streaming films will reduces speed and restrict other household users.
Use the Freshdesk online ticketing service on the Mistoria Estate Agents website to report maintenance issues – texts and emails won’t be responded to.
Keep gardens and yards clean – see point 4.
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.
Failure to follow the above points may result in the Mistoria maintenance team being called out and you being charged for any work carried out to fix or replace the problem.
If you have any questions about any of the points listed above, please contact your local Mistoria office on 0800 500 3015.
If you’re looking for a Liverpool or Salford student house, please contact us and let us help you find the perfect place to call home for the next academic year.
The buy-to-let (BTL) market saw lots of changes in 2017 (taxation of BTL investments and portfolio landlord rules, etc) and there’s yet more regulation coming in 2018.
An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC ) tells you how energy efficient a property is and is rated from A (very good) to G (very poor). It goes without saying that the more energy efficient your property, the lower the energy bills and (usually) the better the overall condition of the house. A high EPC rating also restricts the amount of rent you can charge so keeping up to date with property maintenance work is a good incentive if you want to command the highest yields possible.
Furthermore, EPCs have been a mandatory document for any property rental or sale since 2007 and have a validity of 10 years. As the first of these certificates are coming up for renewal, even stricter energy regulations are being forced upon buy-to-let landlords.
As of 1st April 2018 the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) makes it unlawful to let out a residential property with an EPC rating of F or G (unless exemptions apply). From this date landlords cannot renew or grant tenancies on a property if it does not meet the MEES regulations. Beyond April 2023, the continued private rental of all buildings failing to meet the minimum standard will be outlawed entirely. Local councils will have the power to enforce compliance of the MEES, with penalties of up to £5,000.
The potential risk to landlords (if the property fails to meet MEES) is financial losses and the need to borrow more money to make necessary improvements.
You can view individual EPCs by just entering the property’s postcode here (England & Wales).
There are exemptions to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for landlords, details of which (along with further information about the scheme) can be found on the Government website.
If you are a landlord and would like to explore energy improvements for your rental property, we’d be happy to help you. If you would like to discuss ongoing management of your property (portfolio), we would also be delighted to help. Please call us on 0800 500 3015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Have you ever noticed that your windows or cold external walls sometimes get water droplets on them? That’s condensation.
It’s caused when warm moist air makes contact with cold surfaces. It happens in all homes from time to time but if it’s happening a lot, then it could lead to bigger problems.
Why is it a problem?
If left untreated, mould can form – black furry deposits in the corners and grooves of your windows and walls. This is bad for two reasons. Firstly, mould can be dangerous to your health as it contains harmful bacteria. Secondly, mould means that water has seeped into the gaps and is now settled on the inside of the walls or window frames. Over time this can turn into damp which can cause supportive structures in the home to weaken. This is when it becomes a big problem for us.
How to stop condensation
Enough of the scare stories. Here are some really simple things you can do to avoid condensation…
– Use extractor fans
You know these? Extractor fans aren’t there for no reason, they remove moist air from bathrooms and other spaces with little to no other ventilation mean such as windows. Make sure they’re are switched on EVERY time you wash, shower or bathe.
Similarly, the hood above the hob in the kitchen has an extractor fan fitted. Whenever you’re cooking on the hob, make sure it’s turned on. Boiling water generates lots of steam which will settle on the walls and windows unless extracted.
Where installed, bedroom fans should also be left on.
– Open windows
Opening the windows in your home also helps to prevent condensation. It lets the warm air escape and fresh cooler air come in. When it’s cold outside you might not want to open the windows but a little fresh air for 5 or 10 minutes a day will make all the difference. Plus, fresh air is good for you and could get rid of a few of those nasty smells that can appear over time. Leaving bedroom windows on the first vent setting whilst you are asleep and leaving your bedroom door slightly ajar will help air circulate and reduce condensation on your bedroom window in the morning.
Ensure you open the window in the bathroom and kitchen after bathing or cooking, again, just for 5 or 10 minutes to let the steam escape. REMEMBER to close and secure them again before you leave the house!
– Don’t cover radiators
Avoid putting wet washing on the radiators. The water vapours mixed with the warm air from the radiator will rise and settle on the walls and windows, creating condensation. Invest in a clothes horse and stand this next to a radiator instead.
It is your responsibility to ensure you are doing all you can to avoid condensation and damp.
Following these simple steps will have a big impact. However, if the problem persists please let us know as soon as possible so our maintenance team can inspect and treat the affected area before it gets worse.
Please bear in mind we will have to pass on any repair costs to you and your housemates if you haven’t kept to your part of the deal. So turn on those extractor fans, open the windows, don’t cover radiators and wave goodbye to condensation!
We’re frequently asked questions about student tenancy deposits; what they’re for, what we do with them and when will they be returned?
In an effort to show transparency and to help answer some of your questions we’ve put together a handy guide to tenancy deposits.
Why do I have to pay a deposit? What is it for?
A deposit is required in the majority of letting arrangements for a number of reasons. At the very beginning of a tenancy it secures your hold on the property, ensuring it cannot be let to anyone else.
At Mistoria Estate Agents, and many other letting agents, the majority of our properties are let out on a room-by-room basis. We therefore ask for a deposit from everyone letting a room in the house. This system protects all the other tenants in the house, as well as us, the letting agents, and the landlord. Imagine if someone you shared with suddenly upped and left! When the next set of utility bills arrive and they aren’t around to pay them, you and the rest of the tenants in the house would be lumbered with covering their share of the costs. Alternatively, the letting agent or landlord would have to stump the cost of the vanishing tenant. Neither scenario is fair and that’s why deposits are taken off each tenant.
Deposit Protection Service
The Deposit Protection Service (DPS) protects deposits for tenancies in England and Wales. It is required by law that all landlords and letting agents put all tenant deposits into a deposit protection scheme.
Tenancy Deposit Protection was introduced in April 2007 as part of the Housing Act 2004 in England and Wales, as a way to raise standards in the lettings industry and ensure tenants are treated fairly at the end of the tenancy.
Mistoria Estate Agents adhere to this process and we put ALL tenancy deposits into a protection scheme for the length of the tenancy. NO DEPOSITS ARE HELD BY MISTORIA ESTATE AGENTS.
Getting your deposit back
In the vast majority of cases, deposits are returned in full at the end of a tenancy. The only time this doesn’t happen is when there are outstanding utility bills to pay or there is damage to the property that is the fault of the tenants.
When you leave your Mistoria property, our team will go in and check the condition of the property. If any unreported damage is found, the cost of repair for this may be taken out of your deposit. If the damage is in a communal area, deductions will be taken equally from all tenants’ deposits. If it is a bedroom, the cost will be taken from that tenant’s deposit. No money will be taken without informing the affected tenant(s) first and you will have the right to appeal this decision.
Outstanding utility bills
At the end of your tenancy, which for student tenants is 30th June, there will still be utility bills to bring up to date. As stated in your tenancy agreement, your rent is inclusive of gas, electric and water utility with a cap in place. “At the end of the tenancy the total allowance for the tenancy period will be compared to the total actual usage to establish whether the utility cap has been breached. Any unused allowances within a particular period will be carried forward, or backwards, to offset against over usages of the following or preceding period. Any over usage as calculated at the end of the tenancy will need to be paid back to the landlord or the landlords’ agent within 7 days of submission of an invoice.”
Regardless of the date you choose to move out of your Mistoria property, the final utility bill payment will be divided equally amongst all tenants.
At the end of a tenancy we request final statements from the electricity and gas suppliers. It typically takes six weeks for these bills to arrive, we then need time to check them. Mistoria Estate Agents manage over 300 student properties, and with an average of four tenants per house that’s approximately 1,200 tenant deposits to work through.
We ask that you are patient and allow us a reasonable amount of time to process deductions and return your deposit.
Our tenancy agreement states deposits will be returned within 10 working days of agreement. This means 10 working days after we have contacted you informing you of your share of the final utility bill payments, NOT 10 working days from the end of your tenancy.
At this time we contact the Deposit Protection Service and request your deposit is returned to us. Once the funds are transferred to us we will debit the amount due for your share of the utility bill and return the remaining amount to you.
We hope the above has helped answer some of your questions. Please refer to your tenancy agreement in the first instance if you have any questions and for full details of the deposit/utility bill payment process. You can contact the office on 0800 500 3015 if you have any other specific questions about your deposit that haven’t be answered here or in your tenancy agreement.
Full details of the Deposit Protection Service can be found on their website: www.depositprotection.com/tenant-info. Here you can read about our (Mistoria Estate Agents) obligations as a letting agent and what happens to your deposit. There’s also information about Deposit Disputes and what can be done when you and your landlord or letting agent disagree about the amount of money they wish to deduct from your deposit.
A new report fromThe Mistoria Group, specialists in high yielding investment property in the North West, shows a surge of tenant demand across Liverpool up 19% year on year, with an average of 6.6 tenants now chasing every shared room of a new rental property compared with 5.5 in 2016.
With one of the largest universities in the UK and an increasing student population, combined with rising graduate job opportunities, Liverpool is experiencing a booming BTL market, with demand for high-end, quality rental accommodation outstripping supply.
Liverpool boasts a student population of around 60,000 and 60% of them require accommodation. There is high demand for new and renovated property for the sole purpose of the university students, many of which are looking for affordable, shared accommodation. According to The Mistoria Group, over the last 12 months, student rents in the city have risen by 23% and now sit at an average of £128 per week as at May 2017.
Mish Liyanage, Managing Director of The Mistoria Group comments: “Our lettings office in Liverpool has been operating for two years and during this period, we have seen a surge in demand for rental property from student and professional tenants. Liverpool is a vibrant city with a buoyant job market and unsurprisingly, many young people want to work and live here.
“Liverpool is booming. A multi-million pound investment in economic regeneration is transforming the city and over the last decade, the it has attracted more than £5 billion of investment in property, infrastructure and services. According to Knight Knox, these regeneration projects have seen Liverpool become home to some of Britain’s most ambitious residential, commercial and leisure developments, spearheaded by the widely successful Liverpool ONE project, the shopping and leisure destination, which has refocused the whole city centre towards the waterfront.
“There is no doubt that buy-to-let investment in Liverpool has gone from strength to strength, with landlords enjoying yields of over 10%. Many property investors are clamoring to snap up HMO properties in the city’s BTL hotspots, such as the L6, L7, L8 and L15 postcodes. With savings earning very little, many investors are recognising that BTL property can give them much better returns.
“Rental yields within one mile radius from the Universities/City are excellent. Our research shows that student house share rents start at around £85 per week per room, including bills. However, ensuites can be as high as £115 per week. Investors can acquire a high quality three bed,
fully-let HMO near a university, which will house students from £120,000 upwards. The return on investment is very attractive too, with an average of 13% per annum (8% cash rental and 5% capital growth). We have seen almost 32% increase in the sale of our arm chair HMO deals over the last 12 months compared to 2015-2016”
“Our Liverpool Lettings and Sales branch is located at Wavertree and is managed by the local property expert, Ms Tanya Jackson. The branch which completed 2 years now lets over 300 student rooms and has recorded a 95% occupancy rate across the student accommodation it manages, with the summer still to come. Mistoria Liverpool branch plans to expand the services it offer to residential and commercial sales over the next 12 months with the recruitment of highly experienced Sean Casey.”
Northern England is expected to become a property hotspot for buy to let landlords over the next year according to new research.
A survey conducted at Legal & General Mortgage Club’s recent buy to let forum asked brokers about the future of the buy to let market following the recent tax relief and stamp duty changes.
80 per cent of the brokers surveyed were found to predict that landlords were most likely to expand their buy to let portfolios in Northern England rather than the previously popular London and the south east.
Northern England properties were found to provide the best buy to let yields in the UK during the second half of 2016, and most brokers expected that trend to continue.
Many brokers have confirmed a boom in interest from buy to let investors in Northern England, as they look to exit a london market where yields have fallen.
69 per cent of the brokers quized in the Legal & General Mortgage Club forum also expected buy to let landlords to streamline their portfolios, selling investment properties with lower yields with a view to following better opportunities.
45 per cent of the brokers expected those ‘better opportunities’ to include investment in University towns and student accommodation to improve investmdent yields.
Director of Legal & General Mortgage Club, Jeremy Duncombe, said: ‘Over the past 12 months, the buy to let market has experienced a myriad of legislative changes.
‘Today’s research from Legal & General Mortgage Club’s inaugural buy to let forum shows one of the impacts of these developments, with developers looking north for value. Landlords are resourceful, and this demonstrates the resilience of the market, despite many changes.
‘The last year has been a particularly challenging year for buy to let. The stamp duty hike, coupled with the changes to tax and the Prudential Regulation Authority legislation affecting landlords with four or more properties, has undoubtedly impacted the purchase market in particular.
‘However, it is reassuring to see that confidence in this essential tenure remains as landlords respond and adapt to this new landscape.’