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Letting To Students: Dispelling the Myths

student housing Salford

Many landlords often worry about letting out their properties to students, fearing that they will not receive rental payments, or that their houses will be destroyed during wild parties. However, issues like these are exceptionally rare. We thought we’d dispel some of the popular myths about renting to students in this blog post.

Damage to the Property

A landlord’s worst nightmare is undoubtedly that their property will be destroyed by a particularly wild student party. However, with the rising cost of living, students are increasingly opting to drink and party less, with some studies suggesting that 30% of the student population does not drink at all. With less spare money, students are also more conscious of the need to care for their house to protect their deposit. 

A recent survey by student utility supplier Glide also recently showed that 82% of students would rather stay in to binge watch TV and films than go out to party. Therefore, the chance of a landlord’s property being ruined is now much reduced. 

Payment Problems 

The typical image that society has of a student is of one surviving off pasta because they’ve spent all their money on alcohol. That, alongside the fact that this is the first time many will have had payment responsibilities before, leaves landlords worried that their student tenants will not have enough money to pay their rent. However, such issues are actually relatively rare in student properties, because tenants receive student loan payments termly. Furthermore, if students do miss their rent payments, they are almost always backed by strong guarantors – their parents. 

Noise Complaints

Students are typically known for playing loud music and screaming and shouting late into the night. But as they reduce their alcohol intake and opt to stay in for film nights with friends, landlords should actually see a reduction in the number of noise complaints they receive from neighbours. 

Finding the Perfect Tenants   

One of the best ways to look after your property is to engage with your tenants. If they feel like you are listening to their queries and worries, they are more likely to trust you and therefore respect both you and your property. Having a good relationship with their landlord is one of the key things students look for when renting a home. 

Still Have Concerns?

If you are worried about letting your property to students, come and speak to the experts in student housing, Salford, Liverpool and Bolton based Mistoria Estate Agents. 

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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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Dealing With Damp and Condensation in Your Property

Liverpool letting agent

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are falling from the trees and there’s a noticeable chill in the air. That must mean it’s Autumn! It also means it’s time to start thinking about ways to prevent damp and condensation in your property. 

Condensation

The most common cause of damp in a property is the build-up of condensation. It should be made clear to your tenants that it is their responsibility to prevent condensation in the property. Once you have installed extractor fans in bathrooms, stress that tenants should switch these on every time they shower or take a bath. It might be worth investing in an extractor fan that switches on automatically in time with the bathroom light. That way, you won’t have to rely on your tenants remembering to do so. Extractor fans should also be fitted in the kitchen above the hob. Boiling water causes lots of steam to be produced, which will settle on the walls and windows if not removed. 

Advise your tenants to open their windows regularly, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. During the colder months, they may be reluctant to do so, but windows need only be open for ten minutes a day for a noticeable difference in the levels of condensation build-up. Remind them that they need to close and lock all of their windows before leaving their house each day. 

Tell your tenants not to put wet clothing on radiators. The water vapour mixing with the hot air will rise and settle on walls and windows. You may wish to fit a clothes line to encourage your tenants to dry their clothes outside.

Rising Damp  

Rising damp occurs when groundwater seeps through the bricks and mortar of a building because its damp course has failed. It is your responsibility as a landlord to make the building watertight again by fitting a new damp course. The cost should not be passed on to your tenants. You should ask a professional for their advice; rising damp is often misdiagnosed and fitting a new damp course could end up being a needless expense. 

Penetrating Damp

Penetrating damp occurs when water enters a building via an external wall or the roof and settles inside. This will invariably be because of a fault within the building, such as holes in the roof, damaged gutters, or cracks in the external render. Again, it is your responsibility to ensure that these issues are remedied and that the house is fit for habitation. Fixing penetrating damp is usually a simple process. Make a note of anywhere that the damp appears and find that point on the exterior of your property. Around this area you should be able to quickly find the fault and fix it yourself with some simple DIY. For serious problems, consult an experienced surveyor. A check of the whole building may be required to ensure the damp has not become wet rot, which would be disastrous for the structural integrity of your property.     

Resolving Damp Issues  

Salford, Bolton and Liverpool letting agent, Mistoria have a dedicated maintenance team on hand to resolve any property issues for our landlords and tenants. Contact us now to find out how we can help you. 

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The Mistoria Group Eyes £10k Challenge Supporting Two Liverpool Hospitals

mistoria group

The Mistoria Group is raising a total of £10k to help fund important research for the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and the Liverpool Oncology Centre to mark the 10 year anniversary of their North West property business. Mish Liyanage the Groups CEO has experienced first hand the excellent work that both hospitals undertake following his treatment for eye cancer.

The Liverpool Oncology Centre specialises in cancers and tumours of the eye and patients travel across the world to be treated by their dedicated team. Their success is down to patients who donate tissue for research and also from generous financial support provided by previous patients helping to purchase state of the art equipment to study eye tumours.

The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, the second of The Mistoria Group charities, provided Mish with important radio proton therapy and delivered successful treatment on his optical nerve, saving the sight in his eyeHe was very impressed by the dedicated care and attention provided by the hospital team not just to himself but also the support provided to his family.

Mish’s personal experience with the Liverpool Oncology Centre and the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre shows the importance of continued investment in new research facilities whilst delivering a high level of care to patients and their families.

His successful treatment, the dedicated staff and the excellent care provided by both hospitals made them both natural choices for The Mistoria Group when deciding to choose two charities in Merseyside to mark the company’s 10 year milestone.

Mish Liyanage CEO ‘The Mistoria Group’ commented:

“Following life changing surgery and the world class care that I experienced, I am proud that The Mistoria Group is supporting the Liverpool Oncology Centre and the Clatterbridge Cancer Centre as part of our 10 year anniversary celebrations.’’

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How To Make Your Student House a Home

student homes liverpool

Before you moved into your new student house, you probably saw hundreds of pictures on Instagram of beautifully decorated rooms decorated with hanging fairy lights and plants on the windowsill. Now that you’ve moved in, you might want to recreate that aesthetic for yourself. We’ve put together some tips and tricks to achieve the same look without breaking the bank. Your room will be like a home away from home in no time! 

Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are possibly the most instagrammable part of your room. Their soft light makes everything look great and can be really soothing when you’ve had a tough day of lectures. You can buy them shortly after Christmas for a massively discounted price. Make sure you buy ones that plug into the mains so you’re not constantly paying for new batteries. Drape a strand around your bed or over your noticeboard if you have one. Remember to turn them off before you fall asleep, though.

Print Out Family Photos

Many students struggle with homesickness when they first come to university. A good way to stay connected with home is to print out pictures of your friends, family and pets. Having these familiar faces around you can be really comforting. Once you’ve got some photos with your new university friends, you can print them off too. There are many online services that allow you to upload your pictures, print them as polaroids and have them sent straight to your door. You can then hang them from a piece of string with wooden pegs you’ve decorated yourself.  

Plants

A great way to make a room prettier is to buy some potted plants. They boost your mood and add a splash of colour and lots of oxygen to your room. Given that you’ll probably forget to water them from time to time, we recommend going for hardy cacti. If you know you’ll never remember, consider getting some realistic plastic plants to brighten up your room.  

New Bedding and Pillows 

Your bed will be the most noticeable thing in your room, so really make it stand out with some new bedding. You can go for something plain, something wacky, or something nostalgic (Disney duvet cover? Don’t mind if I do…). You can often find duvet covers and pillow-cases on sale at Primark. If you really want to go all out and make your room extra comfy, get some extra cushions from a charity shop. 

Posters

Show off your individuality with a few posters. They might be of your favourite TV show or film, or your favourite band. They make for excellent conversation starters, especially if you don’t know your new housemates particularly well. Don’t use something to stick them up that will leave a mark though, as you will risk losing your deposit.  

Keep Things Tidy

Buy a laundry bag so you don’t have to wade through mountains of clothes when you wake up every morning. Tidy up the rest of your room by putting your books and folders on shelves and buy storage boxes that fit under your bed to put some of your stuff in.

Good Speakers

Whether you plan to rock out to your favourite tracks on your own or at pre drinks, or host film nights for you and your friends, a good pair of speakers is essential. There are lots of cheap options available online. 

Looking for a House For Next Year?

If you’ve just begun searching for a house for next year with your friends, come and speak to the experts in student homes, Liverpool, Salford and Bolton based Mistoria Estate Agents.

 

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Capital Growth vs Rental Yield – Do You Know the Difference?

Student Estate Agents Salford

If you are considering investing in Salford student lettings, two phrases will have popped up more than any others; capital growth and rental yield. But do you know what they mean? In this blog post, we break down the difference between the two; understanding these phrases is key to successful investing. 

Rental Yield

Rental yield refers to how much profit you will make by renting out your property. There’s an easy way to calculate it too. Just divide the annual rental income amount by the price for which you plan to purchase your property. Times your result by 100. Now you have your rental yield value.

Here’s an example:

You buy a property for £90,000. Your gross annual rental income is £6500. Your rental yield is therefore (6500/90,000) x 100, which gives a value of 7.2%.

You can expect particularly high rental yields in the student rental sector. At Mistoria Estate Agents, the rental yield on many of our Salford student lettings is far higher than can be achieved on a traditional Buy-To-Let (BTL) property. This is because when you rent out an HMO, or ‘House in Multiple Occupation’, to students, you are able to collect rent from every tenant. This is not possible in a conventional BTL property, in which you might only receive one monthly payment.

Capital Growth

Capital growth is the value by which your property will increase over time, from the point of purchase to the point of sale. So if you buy a property for £90,000 and sell it five years later for £120,000, the capital gain is £30,000.  

There are many factors which affect this value, from potential area regeneration to new transport links. Researching the area in which you wish to invest is key if your ultimate goal is capital growth. 

Investors should note that population growth does not necessarily lead to capital growth. You need a combination of an attractive property type, an increasingly attractive location and a large population with the finance to be able to buy property. Investors should research locations to see if any regeneration projects are in the pipeline and what the demographics are in a certain area. Investors should also be aware of stamp duty which now runs at 8% for properties over £250,001 if it is a second property.

How Mistoria Can Help

If you are considering investing in property but are unsure about the jargon and legislation, come and speak to the experts at Mistoria Student Estate Agents, Salford, Liverpool and Bolton. Contact us on 0161 707 6106. 

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Top Tips For Freshers’ Week

student house salford

Freshers’ Week is just around the corner! It’s an amazing time where you can make loads of new friends, join societies and experience independent living for the first time. Here’s some of Mistoria Estate Agents’ tips and advice to help you get the most out of your first week at university. 

Go To The Freshers’ Fair 

Your Freshers’ Fair will usually be held in the first few days of term and going is a great way to find out about all of the societies, groups and clubs available. There’ll be something for everyone, but don’t try and join all the societies all at once, especially if you have to pay a membership fee at the Fair – if you do that, you’ll spend money on things you’ll never go to. Make the most of taster sessions that many of the societies offer, to see if they’re right for you. 

Get All The Free Stuff You Can

You’ll be inundated with freebies during Freshers’ Week and you should definitely take advantage. You can stock up on a year’s supply of pens in just a couple of days; you won’t have to worry about paying for stationery after that!  

Be Open-Minded

University is a time of transition and change and you’ll meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds you’ve never come across before. Be open-minded; some of your best friendships will form with the people you never expected to talk to or get on with. The same goes for joining societies; joining something new might lead to a lifelong hobby and your whole university experience will be more enjoyable because of it.

Stay Safe On Nights Out 

You’ll have some amazing nights out during Freshers’ Week, but you should always make sure you’re safe when you’re out. The easiest way to do this is not to get too drunk; eat something before you start drinking to line your stomach. When you do drink, make sure you keep your eye on your glass at all times. Get all of your new friends’ numbers before you leave the house so you can message them if you get split up in the club. Save some taxi numbers into your phone too, so you can be picked up and whisked off home quickly at the end of the night. 

Be Careful With Your Money

It’s all too easy to overspend in Freshers’ Week and be left with nothing for the rest of the term. Create a budget before you start uni and stick to it as well as you can. And remember, just because other people you’re with are spending money, it doesn’t mean you have to as well. 

Make sure you take into account your rent and food bills and any other other social activities such as going out for drinks with friends. Don’t forget the one-off costs like textbooks and your Freshers’ Week wristband. Remember that it could take a while for your Maintenance Loan some time to come through so don’t spend too much before it’s arrived. 

Not Having Fun? Don’t Worry

Going to university can be a really tough transition and you might feel overwhelmed, especially if it seems that everyone else is having a great time. But don’t worry, there’ll be lots of people in the same position as you. Remember, it can take some people longer to settle in than others. 

Sort Admin Out Before Freshers’ Week Starts

There’ll be so much going on during Freshers’ Week, you won’t really have time to sort out the important matter of admin. Before you start university, make sure you have all the necessary documents, including your letter of application and ID. That way, when you go to register your arrival, you’ll have what you need and the process will be far simpler. You also need to make sure you’ve signed up for the student council tax exemption and have got your TV licence. 

Freshers’ Week Help At Mistoria 

If you still need help finding a student house, Salford, Liverpool and Bolton based Mistoria Estate Agents is here to provide expert guidance, whether you’re a fresher or not. Contact us on 0161 707 6106 now. 

 

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How To Choose Your Next Student Home

Moving in to a Liverpool or Salford student house share some time soon? Before you do, read our advice about choosing the right one for you and your friends. 

Choose Your New Housemates Wisely

If you want to have a great year in your new house, you’ll need great housemates. That’s why choosing them is such a hard task. Living with your friend that goes out every night to party might seem like great fun, but later in the year when you’re deep in an essay on an all-nighter, you won’t want him banging on your door and making a racket when he comes home drunk at 4am. Make sure you trust them too; you don’t want them stealing your food when they can’t be bothered to cook for themselves. 

Create a Budget That Works For Everyone

Once you’ve chosen your new housemates, it’s time to agree on a budget. Don’t forget that some people may have more money to spend than others. You need to work out a budget that everyone can afford and that everyone is happy with. Keep it realistic and within your student finance allowance.

Don’t Leave It Too Late

We can’t stress this one enough! One of the most common mistakes we see students make is leaving house hunting to the last minute and having to settle for something they’re not entirely happy with, or having to live with other students they don’t like. You should give yourself lots of time to find the house that’s right for you and your friends. You should have signed a contract at the very latest before everyone goes away for summer. Ideally though, you’ll want it sorted by Easter. 

Pick An Area To Live In

Unsurprisingly, student houses tend to be close to university campuses and various shops and supermarkets. Living near other students is the best option. That way, you’ll be with people who have the same interests as you and you won’t be disturbing families with your antics. Also consider what kind of vibe you want; do you want loud and bustling or quiet and relaxed? 

Get Familiar With The Legal Stuff

Contracts

When you’ve chosen the house you want, you’ll have to sign a contract. You may want to show your documents to the student advice centre at your university for them to check so you have peace of mind. Tenancy contracts are legally binding so make sure you definitely want to live in a property before signing.  

Rent

One of the key components of the contract is the statement of how much rent you’ll pay and when it should be paid. It will also detail any instances where extra fees may be imposed, such as when a key has been lost and needs replacing. 

Tenant Obligations 

This part of the contract will explain what your duties are as a tenant. Typical responsibilities include being respectful of your neighbours, carrying out minor maintenance work such as changing light bulbs and keeping your house clean.

Landlord Obligations

Your contract will also show the landlord’s duties whilst you are a tenant in the property. Examples include major repair work and ensuring the house is compliant with gas, fire and electricity legislation. 

Check Out The Property Yourself

If you’ve seen a property you like the look of online, don’t go signing for it straight away without having a look at it first. Speak to a member of the team at Mistoria Estate Agents and they’ll be able to book a viewing for you. You’ll be able to get an idea of whether you see yourself living there for a year or more and whether it meets your needs in terms of size and facilities. 

Need Help Finding a Liverpool or Salford Student House Share?

Then come to Mistoria Estate Agents for advice. Our professional team will be able to answer any questions you have and will help you find a property that suits everyone in your group. Contact us now. 

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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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Moving into your new student home

It’s an exciting time when you move into your new student accommodation. If you’re away from home for the first time it’s even more of a change for you as you find your way around your new home. We want to make the experience as simple as possible for you, so our website has lots of help available.

Here are a few key things to be aware of…

Firstly we operate a ticket system for any maintenance issues you have. Each location (Salford, Bolton and Liverpool) we operate in has its own dedicated team and you can find the link to report a problem on our website. It is also listed below:

Mistoria Estate Agents Maintenance Support

For small non-urgent problems, we will try and get these fixed either over the phone or if that’s not possible, arrange a time when we can call in.

For emergencies we will do our best to respond immediately. If you need to report an emergency repair outside the office hours of 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, you should call our Mistoria Estate Agents Maintenance line on:

Liverpool is: 07794913390
Salford is: 07875681633
Bolton is: 07964552310

giving as much detail of the problem as possible.

If you smell gas you must call NATIONAL GRID on 0800 111999.

Secondly, we want you to be safe in your new home so make sure you keep doors and windows locked when you go out. Be aware of your surroundings and take sensible measures to look after your own security and that of your friends.

Some properties are fitted with burglar alarms, please learn to use these and set them correctly. We don’t want to disturb the neighbours with constant false alarms.

Talking of neighbours, be respectful of your neighbourhood and remember that people around you may work different hours to you so please keep music and noise to a minimum. Having good relations with your neighbours can be a benefit if you ever need to ask for help.

Fire detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted in all properties and it is your responsibility to check these are working and keep a log of these checks.

Keep the property clean and make sure you are using the bins properly. Food waste can attract pests so please make sure your bins are put out for emptying on the correct day and that they are not left overflowing. Keeping things clean and tidy will make your home a much nicer place to live.

Damp and condensation are generally caused by lack of ventilation so when you are in open windows when the weather allows, and keep rooms well aired particularly those where there is a lot of moisture such as bathrooms and kitchens. If windows are never opened then condensation will increase and can lead to issues with damp.

Keep an eye on your utility usage. Where bills are included, they are done so on a fair usage basis. This means there is an upper limit to what you can use without incurring additional costs.

Look after the property and report breakages. Accidents do happen and we realise that and we will replace items but this may incur a charge.

We have a detailed Welcome Pack giving much more information here and of course if you have any questions please drop your local office a line or call them and they will do their best to help.