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New Mistoria HMO property video walk-through

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

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

Tenants

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

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

Bolton – 01204 800 766

Liverpool– 0161 707 6106

Salford – 0161 707 6106

Landlords

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

5 Wythburn Street, Salford

 

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

student accommodation Salford

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

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

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

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

What property hazards should I look out for in winter?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can I protect my property from these winter perils?

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

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

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

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

How can we help look after your rental property?

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

Our dedicated maintenance team has inspected hundreds of properties and knows exactly what to look out for, ensuring your property is kept in top condition and is fit for purpose. We specialise in student accommodation Salford, however if you are a landlord of any sort and would like to discuss in more detail the service Mistoria Estate Agents can offer you, please contact us on 0800 500 3015.

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Student Landlords Face Increased Tenant Deposit Disputes

student house deposit

Recent research from the DPS reveals that student house deposit disputes are twice as likely as other tenants, with 22%, or one in five, not receiving the full amount when they leave their accommodation.

Disagreements over cleaning and damage together caused half of all claims that entered the DPS free-to-use dispute resolution process between 2015 and 2019 (26% and 24% respectively). Other disputes included redecoration (14%), rent arrears (10%) and replacing missing items (6%).

The Mistoria Group is urging student landlords and agents to conduct thorough check-in and check-outs at the start and end of the tenancy, supported by a professional inventory. Clear communication on the tenant’s responsibilities when they move into the property will improve the chances of a trouble-free check-out at the end of this academic year.

Mish Liyanage, Managing Director of The Mistoria Group comments: “The common mistakes in landlord inventories are essentially lack of detail. Landlords often write just a brief shopping list and often do not have the appropriate photographs and videos, along with accompanying written descriptions to show the condition of the property and its contents.

“Our experience shows that when landlords take the time to spell out tenants’ responsibilities in terms of cleaning and caring for the property, students are more likely to conduct their tenancy in a way that is respectful to the property and this minimises any potential damage.

“Landlords and agents may need to review the deposits they take for student accommodation to cover any potential costs incurred at check-out. In some parts of the UK, the deposit simply is not enough to cover the costs to return the property back to its original condition at the end of the tenancy.

“On many occasions, we have been faced with maintenance related losses.

“If the landlord or agent finds the tenant fails to agree to the deposit deductions, they need to ensure they have the evidence such as a thorough and fully detailed inventory, copies of which are given to the tenant at check-in and check-out. It is imperative that tenants sign their acceptance of the contents of the check-in within seven days of the move in, and this signed copy should be retained by either the landlord or letting agent.”

The Mistoria Group has outlined some common mistake which increase the risk of a student house deposit dispute:

  • Landlords and letting agents make the mistake in thinking that inventories can be heavily comprised of photography and video. Completely photographic or filmed inventories without a complete written accompanying report are almost useless. If photography or film has been used in the inventory, make sure it is detailed enough and dated. Include photographs of the garden; inside of the oven; interior of the shed or garage; and keys handed over to tenants – these are the main areas of problems that occur and are often down to misinterpretation at the end of a tenancy.
  • There is no need to photograph every single corner of the property as this is simply a waste of time – stick to the important things. Films and photographs alone will be of little use in a dispute when an adjudicator is trying to find hard evidence of a particular area.
  • Many landlords and agents do not carry out a thorough and full check-in and check-out of the property at which the tenant was present. Landlords and agents who don’t have this available when they go to court, have little chance of winning the case.
  • Often there is no correspondence with the tenant that is documented and no receipts are kept for the deductions on the deposit eg cleaning and repairs.

The Mistoria Group is a high yielding student buy-to-let investment specialist, offering HMOs and armchair investments in the North of the UK, generating combined net cash yield up to 13% (Rental and Capital Growth). For more information on our currently available investments and the services, email info@mistoriagroup.com or call 0800 500 3015.

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Landlords: Are You Up To Date With MEES Regulations?

north west letting agents

The domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations set the minimum energy efficiency level for private rented property under the Energy Act 2011. There have been changes to these regulations that you need to be aware of, so here our North West letting agents go over the important details for you.

When you need to take action

Since 1 April 2018, it has been unlawful for landlords to grant a new lease for properties that have an energy performance certificate (EPC) rating below E, unless the property is registered as an exemption. On 1 April 2020, the prohibition on letting F and G properties was extended to all relevant properties, irrespective of whether there’s been a change in tenancy.

If your property is let on an assured tenancy, a regulated tenancy, or a domestic agricultural tenancy, and it is legally required to have an EPC, then it’s covered under the regulations. If it’s covered and has an EPC rating of F or G, you will need to take measures to bring it up to E or above before you can let, or continue to let, the property.

It’s possible that the MEES Regulations will be upgraded further in 2022 to C or D, so now is the time to take action to ensure your property is compliant.

What you need to do

First of all, it’s important to remember that a cost cap of £3,500 (including VAT) applies, so you’ll never be required to spend more than this on energy efficiency improvements.

There are 3 ways to fund improvements to your property:

  1. Third-party funding
  2. Combination of third-party funding and self-funding
  3. Self-funding

Contained in your EPC report, you will find a list of recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of your property, along with the indicative cost, the typical savings per year, and the EPC rating after the improvement has been made. The recommended measures are varied, but could include:

  • Internal or external wall insulation
  • Increase hot water cylinder insulation
  • Low energy lighting
  • Solar water heating
  • Draught proofing

If your EPC rating is F or G, you must make ‘relevant energy efficiency improvements’ to your property, which means using the recommendations on the list up to the £3,500 cost cap. If you reach the cap but your property is still not rated as E or above, you can register an ‘all improvements made exemption’, under which you will not be penalised and can continue to let the property.

Be aware: if your chosen methods for energy efficiency improvements do not appear in the list on your EPC report, and they fail to improve your rating to an E or more, you cannot register an exemption and will be expected to invest further in measures that will help your property to meet the requirements before you can let it.

Exemptions

If you don’t think you can meet the requirements under the MEES Regulations, don’t panic. In addition to the ‘all improvements made’ exemption, there are others under which you can register if your property meets the criteria:

  • ‘High cost’ exemption
  • Wall insulation exemption
  • Third-party consent exemption
  • Property devaluation exemption
  • Temporary exemption due to recently becoming a landlord

These need to be registered on the Private Rented Sector (PRS) Exemptions Register, which can be done online. After they expire, you must try again to improve the property’s EPC rating, or register another exemption.

Penalties

The MEES Regulations are enforced by local authorities, who may serve you with a compliance notice if they suspect there’s been a breach. This will request information to aid their decision. If a breach is confirmed, they may issue you with a financial penalty. There is a maximum £5,000 penalty in total per property. Within these regulations, the amount is decided by the relevant local authority. It’s worth remembering that local councils keep these fines, so they are incentivised to enforce them.

How our North West letting agents can help

Mistoria Estate Agents offers a variety of highly sophisticated, professional and tailored property management solutions. With branches in Bolton, Liverpool and Salford we are a leading North West letting agents. We can go through your EPC and gas and electrical safety certificates with you, to ensure you are complying with all legislation including the MEES regulations and give you peace of mind in the process. If you’d like to discuss options, don’t hesitate to get in touch on 0800 500 3015
today.

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

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Surviving in a Shared Student House

property lettings salford

Living with your friends in a shared house can be one of the best bits of your time at university. But maintaining domestic harmony can sometimes be a struggle, especially during stressful times like exam season. That’s why we’ve written this blog post – so that you know how to survive in a shared student house! 

Choose Your Housemates Wisely

Before you even start looking for a house, you need to sort out who you’ll be living with. This is not a decision to be taken lightly. A good idea is to live with the people from your halls in first year who you get on with and who you know can live without mess and drama. Alternatively, you could live with people from your favourite society, as that way you’ll have something in common (though that’s no guarantee they’ll be good housemates!). 

We find that the most popular months or house hunting are October to December, which gives you some time to get to know your friends before deciding to live with them. If there’s something you find irritating about a friend, remember that this will be much more noticeable when you see them all the time in your own home. You should also consider how many people you want to live with; in larger houses, there’ll be more chance of arguments and less chance of privacy, but if you’re a social butterfly, a large house might be perfect for you. 

Room Allocation

When you move into your new house, there’ll probably be a desperate rush for the biggest room. But to avoid arguments, deciding who gets which room should be a democratic process. Each room will have its advantages and disadvantages and you should consider what’s most important to you. If some rooms are considerably bigger than others you may consider splitting them by price, or you could allocate on a first come first served basis.  

Keep Things Tidy

To keep up good relations with everyone in your house, try and avoid conflicts wherever possible. Arguments usually start over the cleanliness of the house. It’s fine to have a messy room, but in communal areas, you should make sure your things are packed away after you’ve used them. Make sure you wash your dishes once you’ve used them. It’s really easy to let plates build up until you have a festering mess in your kitchen and nothing to eat from. 

It’s worth sitting down with your housemates to write up a cleaning rota. That way, every part of the house will be cleaned regularly and no one will be able to argue about whether it’s their turn later down the line.

Ask To Use Your Friends Things

If you’ve run out of cutlery because you’ve not done the washing up, it’s tempting to ‘borrow’ your friends’ things. If you come in drunk and have no food in, you may even decide to steal some of your friends’ food from the fridge. That can cause huge arguments, especially if someone comes down to find they have nothing for breakfast. It goes without saying that you should always ask before taking anything. It may also be a good idea to mark your things with your name.

Don’t Let Your Partner Move In

There is usually only enough space in communal areas for the number of occupants in your property. It can be really frustrating when someone you barely know spends all their time hogging the kitchen or taking lazy showers when you need to get ready to go to lectures. Your housemates will also get irritated that your partner isn’t paying rent or bills but is still using the house’s facilities. No one is stopping you having your partner over a few times a week, but if they’re there all the time, don’t be surprised when your friends get annoyed. 

Pay Your Bills

If your house has opted to pay their own bills rather than move into a bills-included home, it’s best to have one person responsible for collecting all utility payments. Make sure you pay them the right amount, on time. It’s unfair on the lead payer if you’ve not paid your share and they’re left covering for you. Remember that everyone is sharing the cost, so don’t turn up the heating just to walk around in shorts!

Looking For A House For Next Year?

Experts in property lettings, Salford, Liverpool and Bolton based Mistoria Estate Agents have a wide range of student properties available to rent. Contact us now. 

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Preventing Deposit Disputes with your Lettings

student letting agents

Deposit disputes can be difficult and time-consuming for tenants, landlords and letting agents alike. Fortunately, with proper planning and preparation, most can be avoided altogether. Here are some things our student letting agents think landlords and fellow agents should know about that reduce the likelihood of this happening.

Schemes, Agreements and Legislation

The Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) Scheme and Prescribed Information

As a landlord, you must put your tenants’ deposits in one of three government-approved tenancy deposit schemes (TDP), which protect the deposits, within 30 days of receiving them. Within the same timeframe, you must serve all ‘relevant persons’ the Prescribed Information which contains information about the scheme, including how the deposit is protected and how to apply to get it back. A ‘relevant person’ is any person, company or organisation that contributes to a tenant’s deposit payment, which often happens with student lettings. Failure to place the deposits in a TDP and serve the Prescribed Information within 30 days will incur penalties.

The Tenancy Agreement

Knowing what to include in the tenancy agreement will ensure that your tenants know what is your responsibility and what is theirs, which is crucial to preventing disputes. Two aspects of the tenancy agreement that are often overlooked are:

  • Joint and several liability
    This means that all of your tenants are equally responsible for adhering to the tenancy agreement, so for example if one tenant cannot pay the rent, then the other tenants are liable for that as well.
  • Cleaning and maintenance responsibilities
    This should state who is responsible for things like mowing the lawn and cleaning the gutters. In student lettings, it’s also important to state that every tenant is responsible for keeping communal areas clean and tidy because many of these are let to individuals by bedroom.

The Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) legislation

If your letting is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) then you as the landlord have extra legal responsibilities. This is primarily to reduce the risk of fire and ensure tenants have adequate facilities. It includes ensuring that annual gas safety checks are carried out and making necessary repairs to communal areas of the property.

Furthermore, the HMO may require a licence. This generally applies if it has five or more unrelated people living in it or two or more separate households living there; however, some local councils require all HMOs to have a licence so it’s worth checking with them.

Helpful Tips

Know your tenants’ contact information

A simple but oft-forgotten way to reduce the risk of deposit disputes is to maintain clear and open communications with your tenants. Obviously, you cannot do this if you don’t have their up-to-date contact details, such as email addresses and phone numbers. As students often change these, it is important to check in with them occasionally to ensure you have the correct information.

Market early for student lettings

Students often begin their property searches around October-time for the following academic year. This is ideal, because it means you can ensure everything is ironed out in plenty of time before the tenancy begins. Therefore, you should try to market your property early. If you need help, Mistoria Estate Agents have an expert marketing team who can help with compelling advertisements, shrewd social media management, to-let boards and floor plans and more, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Further Information about our student letting agents

Bear these points in mind and you’ll drastically improve your chances of a successful, dispute-free tenancy for your property. However, this isn’t an exhaustive list. Mistoria Estate Agents specialises in student tenancies in the areas of Bolton, Liverpool and Salford. We offer extensive reference checks so you can find the “right” tenants for your property, and our Comprehensive Property Protection means all properties go through our inventory service to include photographic or video evidence, protecting both landlord and tenant.

If you’d like help, or simply wish to know more about, TDP schemes, tenancy agreements, HMO legislation or anything else related to lettings, contact us on 0800 500 3015 so we can advise you further.

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

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Main Sponsor of the National Landlord Investment Show

We are delighted to be both the main sponsor and keynote seminar speaker at the National Landlord Investment Show this week.

Tune in on Thursday 8th October at midday to hear our CEO, Mish Liyanage give his 15 Top Tips on Being a Successful Student HMO Landlord.

You can register here> https://www.landlordinvestmentshow.co.uk/midlands-north-online

There is a great line-up of leading industry speakers, so it is well worth attending for some great advice and insights. You will also have the chance to ask your own questions in the Q&A sessions.

#landlords #investment #hmos #studentaccommodation #studenthousing #studentproperty #investmentproperty

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Lease Options Explained

investment property bolton

Lease option deals – also known as “rent to buy” or “lease with the option to buy” – are essentially agreements in which a tenant or investor leases a property from a seller with the option to purchase when the lease expires, or at any point within the duration of the contract.

In this arrangement, the tenant or investor claims the option to buy by paying a fee, which usually ranges between 3 and 5% of the property value. Although having obtained the exclusive right to buy, tenants are not obligated to exercise this right and can always change their minds, unlike sellers, who do not have this option. Lease terms are negotiable but usually last between one and three years.

Coming to a Lease Option agreement has several advantages for both tenant-buyer and seller, but there are also some disadvantages that should not be overlooked. Before purchasing an investment property in Bolton, Liverpool or Salford with Mistoria, see if a Lease Option is the best choice for you. 

Advantages for the Buyer

Lease options can be a great choice for people that do not qualify for a mortgage. They provide tenant-buyers with the opportunity of locking in a sale price before a purchase and thus, buys them the time they require in order to improve their credit ratings and save up for a down payment. 

Considering that most lease option contracts are made to set a fixed purchase price in advance, the buyer might benefit greatly from the appreciation of the property during the lease period and thus, might be able to buy it for a considerably lower price than the market value at the time of purchase. In addition to this, a higher lease payment is often agreed upon beforehand, with a part of the amount credited towards the purchase price. Should the tenant-buyer decide to exercise his or her option, these payments will have reduced the overall purchase price.

The Lease Option can also act as a trial period and allows the potential buyer to assess an area or neighbourhood as a living or investment opportunity.

Disadvantages for the Buyer

Some of the advantages listed could also potentially turn into disadvantages. If the tenant does not manage to qualify for a mortgage during the lease term or to save up any money, the higher payments made towards the purchase amount are lost and will not be reimbursed. The same goes for the option fee that was paid to reserve the right to buy. Furthermore, in the event of a decrease in property value, the seller might insist on the agreed-upon price, which would result in the buyer overpaying compared to the market value or losing out on the property entirely.

Advantages for the Seller

Coming to a lease option agreement can be very beneficial to a landlord when the market is slow or there is too much competition, which makes selling difficult. 

Therefore, receiving monthly payments is still better than a vacant house, and if the tenant decides not to exercise his or her option to buy, the seller will be able to keep the potential extra fees made towards the property purchase, if such extra fees apply to the particular agreement. In addition, he or she will also be able to retain the option fee.

Another advantage is the fact that Lease Option tenants are likely to take better care of a property, since they have moved in with the intention of eventually buying it. So even if they ultimately do not end up purchasing, the seller could save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on maintenance and repair costs.

Disadvantages for the Seller

Great advantages for the buyer can be great disadvantages for the seller: if market fluctuations increase the value of the property beyond the agreed-upon option price, the seller will be forced to give it up at a lower price than the current value. Therefore, it is always advisable to set the price higher to account for potential appreciation. 

Ultimately, one of the biggest disadvantages concerning such arrangements might be the uncertainty that comes with them – if after years of leasing, the tenant or investor decides not to buy, the seller will need to invest energy, time and financial resources into finding a new buyer and going through a similar process. 

 

In general, a lease option agreement binds the seller, but not the buyer, who always has the option of opting out at the end of the lease term. But it can be a great option for both if circumstances and benefits are considered carefully.

Further Information

If you’ve still got questions about Lease Option agreements, or are considering purchasing an investment property in Bolton, Liverpool or Salford, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Mistoria Estate Agents. We are members of ARLA and NAEA Propertymark, which means we meet higher industry standards than the law demands. Our experts undertake regular training to ensure they are up to date with best practice and complex legislative changes so they can offer you the best advice. We are also backed by a Client Money Protection scheme which guarantees your money is protected.

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Your Guide to Guarantors

salford student estate agents

When searching for your perfect student house, there’ll be many new terms and phrases you’ll hear for the first time. Renting is new territory and with it comes a whole load of new jargon to get your head around. One of them that will crop up all the time is ‘guarantors’. Before you dismiss the idea as no big deal, let us tell you a bit about the role of a guarantor…

What is a Guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who agrees to ensure that the tenant follows the terms of a tenancy and will step in to make up any shortfall if they don’t. This includes, but is not limited to, paying the rent if the tenant doesn’t. In short, if you decide to blow your student loan on an iPhone11 instead of your rent, your guarantor will have to cough up instead. Depending on the agreement, a guarantor’s liability can also include damages to the property.

A guarantor, particularly in the case of students, is often a parent or close relative of the tenant, but can be anyone that is prepared to take on the responsibility. The usual requirement for a guarantor is that they are employed, are a UK resident, have sufficient earnings to cover the tenant’s rent, or are a relative or family friend.

Why do I Need a Guarantor?

There are many different reasons tenants may be asked for a guarantor. Primarily, it’s down to their financial situation. If you have no credit history or a low credit score, are starting a new job, or are on a low salary, you’re paying rent via benefits, or if you’re a student, you’ll be asked to provide a guarantor.

Your new prospective landlord may wish to make the same checks on your guarantor as they will on you as the tenant to ensure they are ‘good for it’ and are able to pay, should they need to. Don’t underestimate the importance of a guarantor or the gravity of what you are asking them to do; you’re asking someone to lay bare their own financial circumstances, as well as be responsible for ensuring you stick to the terms of your lease.

The Process

When asking someone to be a guarantor for you, make sure they understand all that that entails. Provide them with a full copy of your tenancy agreement; don’t assume, or just ask them to sign it. In the worst case scenario, should you fall into rent arrears or cannot pay for any property damages that are your fault, you could be putting your guarantor in financial jeopardy. Be honest with your guarantor about what you’re asking of them and make the time to sit down with them and have a serious conversation about what it all means.

To make the process as easy as possible for all involved, and to build trust with your student landlord or student letting agency, following this sequence of steps will help:

  • Provide a reference for yourself as a tenant
  • Provide details and references for your guarantor
  • Send a draft, UNSIGNED, copy of the full tenancy agreement and the guarantor agreement to your chosen guarantor
  • Ask your guarantor to have their signing of the agreement witnessed, and dated
  • Send the signed agreements back to your landlord/letting agent in a timely manner
  • Sign the tenancy agreement in person, in front of the landlord or agent and ensure they do the same.

The Guarantor Agreement

Ensure the guarantor agreement includes the names of the landlord/letting agent and the tenant (you), as well as the address of the rental property.

It should also contain an explanation of exactly what the guarantor is liable for, as well as a description of the guarantor’s liability. This is especially important for student lettings. In some cases, if there is a guarantor for one individual in a joint tenancy, i.e. a shared house with a single tenancy agreement like that of a student house, then often the guarantor is also liable for the other tenants in the property, as this is a ‘joint and several liability tenancy’. You as the tenant, and your guarantor, should read the deed you are signing carefully, and ensure it is set up so that individual guarantors are liable for individual tenants.

Bolton, Liverpool and Salford Student Estate Agents

If you are unsure about any of the terminology used in your Mistoria tenancy agreement, or guarantor agreement, please make an appointment to come and see us to discuss it. We’d be happy to help you, and any prospective guarantor, to ensure everyone in the process understands their responsibilities when renting a Mistoria property. Please contact us by phoning 0800 500 3015.   

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

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Leasehold vs Freehold: What’s the Difference?

liverpool estate agents

Purchasing a house is one of the most complicated and stressful events most people will go through in their lives. Often, the really important details get overlooked, as you focus on the big things like securing a mortgage. But at Mistoria, we pride ourselves on being proactive and making sure even the smallest details are taken care of.  

In recent years, you may have heard of the ‘Leasehold Scandal’. People buying properties did not realise at the time of purchase what they were letting themselves in for and did not fully understand the contracts they had signed.  But what is a leasehold and how does it differ from a freehold? Read this blog post to find out.  

Leasehold vs Freehold

In British law, there are two different forms of home ownership; freehold and leasehold. A freehold is what you’d probably expect when you purchase a house – once you’ve signed on the dotted line, all of the property is yours. This should always be the preferred option and if you purchase such a property, unsurprisingly you will not be affected by the leasehold scandal.

If you’re in the process of purchasing a leasehold property then you are essentially buying permission to occupy that property for a set number of years, usually a very extended period far beyond the life of the building itself. However, wew build properties on new estates seem to be increasingly providing only very short leasehold periods, causing problems for potential homeowners. 

Leaseholds may sound like a form of rent (and some do argue it is); traditionally leasehold rents are for a very long time, usually between 100 to 999 years, but the freeholder still has some responsibility for maintaining public areas around the property. So, for example, if you buy a leasehold flat the freeholder may be responsible for maintaining the staircases and lifts; typically the maintenance comes with a small additional fee.

On top of maintenance fees, the leaseholder also usually pays a ‘ground rent’ – literally a rent on the land the property is built on. It’s these payable rents where the scandal has broken out. For a long time, the rents were usually very small; some people would pay an annual ground rent of £1 a year and this is still very common.

But recently, some property builders have been discovering the law around leasehold is very complicated and massively in the favour of the freeholder, giving them leeway to increase ground rents without any say by the leaseholder.

In return, this has meant people are now paying attention to the fact their property is leasehold and discovering how this may impact them.

Check with Mistoria and we can advise

So, if you’re buying a house what should you do? Firstly there is no need to panic. It is worth noting that the vast majority of people who live in leasehold properties have not been affected by the scandal.

Nevertheless, make absolutely sure you know what you’re buying, check with us and we can advise you of the leasehold status of the property you are considering. Secondly, if it is a leasehold, ask for a copy of the lease and get it checked over by a lawyer that knows the area well. As a rule of thumb, any lease that is less than 80 years can start to significantly affect the value of the house, but it all depends on what is in the contract.

If you do buy a leasehold, it is often possible to buy out the leasehold at an additional charge and become the freeholder. Do this as soon as possible; the owners may be willing to sell it for just a few thousand pounds.

Property law in Britain is very old, some of the stories coming out of the leasehold scandal date the ownership of the land back to the 1600s which all means it is intensely complicated and hard to understand. However, the scandal hasn’t gone unnoticed by the government, and there have been promises of an inquiry. Whatever the results of this inquest are, there is enough political will in parliament for some significant change, although what and when that change will come into force is anyone’s guess.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Salford, Bolton and Liverpool estate agents, Mistoria, on 0800 500 3015. 

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