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Leaving student housing secure over Christmas

Everyone needs to protect their home over the Christmas period, but student housing is often more vulnerable than most.  Leaving a house empty for up to a month requires security precaution, and the possibility of snow, storms or floods needs to be considered.  Here are our top tips for keeping your student home safe over the Christmas break…

  • Set the heating to a timer so that it comes on (on a low heat) a couple of times a day for a couple of hours.  This will stop your pipes from freezing and prevent any other frost damage.  It will also ensure that your home will not be freezing cold when you return. 
  • Clean!  You will kick yourself if you come back to a dirty house, which has been festering for weeks.  Take out the bins, empty the fridge (no-one wants find mouldy month-old pasta!) hoover and check under the bed for any old food or stinky socks!
  • Now’s the time to check your locks.  If you think any may need changing, bring this up with your landlord now.  You’ll need to lock everything before you leave to prevent break-ins, so if there’s any doubt, get it fixed.
  • As a further precaution, set up lamps on timers to make it look as though the house isn’t empty.  Cancel any deliveries such as milk or catalogues which could build up and indicate there’s no-one home.
  • Let your landlord know when the house will be empty.  They can then check on the property in the event of bad weather and keep an eye on things.  If you know anyone else on your street who will also be around, ask if they can let you know if anything seems wrong, or even give them your landlord’s number for emergencies such as a burst pipe or collapsed roof.

If you’re starting to property hunt ready for the next academic year, check out our available student housing now, and be sure to download our student housing guide.  It’s full of tips for finding a student house, as well as handy hints on how to save money, what you can expect from your landlord, and check-lists for moving in and out of student accommodation.  Feel free to contact us with any queries on 0800 500 3015 or using our contact form.

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Dealing with property damage

While it’s tempting to put off or overlook dealing with property damage, the consequences can be severe. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, don’t get caught out by degradation.  In keeping with our theme on presentation of property in the market, we thought we’d delve a little deeper into those common problem areas that the property-savvy need to look out for the most.  From creeping damp in the cellar to a leak in the roof, there are all too many ways a property might fall in to decline with potentially costly consequences.  When it comes to choosing or maintaining a property, you can’t be too careful.  It’s so important to know what to look out for, so we’ve come up with a short list of some of the weasels that can threaten the integrity of a property:

  • Cracked Ceilings – Elephant in the room. Prospective buyers might be too polite to ask about cracks in a ceiling, but you can be sure they’ll notice them – don’t be fooled by phrases like ‘what lovely alcoves’, they know.  While many cracks are superficial it’s not wise to ignore them.  There might not be a problem but if cracks appear, be sure to do a bit of investigation.  If there is a problem then get it sorted out because further down the road you might end up paying through the nose for it.  If you’re looking to buy, don’t be shy about asking questions.
  • Mould/Damp – Gross.  As well as being unsightly, mould can cause serious health problems when not treated properly.  There’s no excuse to let it linger, with a range of products available in most supermarkets it’s a ten minute job to get rid of it. But it’s also important to consider what’s causing it.  Faulty extractor fans are a likely culprit, as well as dodgy window fittings.  If it’s the latter it’s really worth sorting it out sooner rather than later as it’s not the sort of problem that will diminish over time, quite the opposite, and neither will the cost.
  • Roof Damage – Nightmare. It’s bad luck to open an umbrella in doors and you won’t fancy getting the ladders out in a storm to shakily get on top of the house for a spot of DIY? Make sure you give your roof the attention it deserves as leaks can be severely damaging to ceilings, loft beams and, not to mention, anything electrical. A particular concern for older properties, make sure the roof is in good nick; if the building has a chimney it’s especially important; an insecure chimney-breast could cost a fortune to repair, and it’s dangerous.
  • Floods – Dam!  With increased flooding, year on year, across the UK, you’ve no doubt seen the chaos and damage that flooding inflicts on people as well as their homes.  It’s a costly, messy business to clear up so if you’re in charge of a property in an area that’s known to be at risk, take pre-emptive steps to fortify your home against the worst of flood damage as this will definitely be an advantage when it comes to selling.  If you’re looking to buy, be sure to ask your agent plenty of questions about the flooding history of the area as well as any alterations that have been made or may be required in the future.
  • Quakes/Shakes – Shocking.  Over time vibrations can wear away at your home.  Whether it’s by a busy train line or a local fracking site, when considering/maintaining a property it’s essential to factor in any seismic threats as they can cause real structural damage to your home.  Regular inspections of the property’s foundations and brickworks are advised to maintain structural integrity and to avoid potential disasters.

All buildings have to abide by certain standards to be deemed fit for purpose.  Working with a surveyor is a great way of keeping your home up to scratch and to avoid getting a rough deal if you’re looking to buy.  Property is an investment, take care of your assets.

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Student Accommodation Investment

If you have been following the UK property investment market over the past 12 month then you will know that there has been a huge growth in student accommodation investment opportunities.

Here are 5 salient reasons why a growing number of people are opting to make a student accommodation investment.

Links and support from Universities

As well as having a limited amount of accommodation, many university halls of residence are out-of-date and need modernisation. Due to budget constraints the universities are more than happy to work with private accommodation providers, as long as the accommodation is good enough quality and meets their desired criteria and standards.

Top Asset Class

UK Student accommodation has performed very well as an asset over the past few years delivering consistent high yields.

The CBRE reported that last year student housing strongly outperformed other property asset classes delivering total returns of 9.6pc for investors, compared with 4.4pc for all office properties and 2.2pc for all retail.

Savills 2012 spotlight on student housing also stated that,

“UK student accommodation performed well over the last 5 years, showing average annual total returns outperforming many commercial property asset classes.”

Student Accommodation Investments Are Relatively low risk

With great demand and high occupancy rates investing in right type of quality student housing, in a good location should be the strategy to follow. Jo Winchester, head of student advisory at CBRE explains,

“As an investment, student accommodation is relatively low risk and provides a secure income. Occupancy levels remain high, especially when compared to the vacancy rates in some mainstream sectors, and most university towns remain under-supplied.”

High yields

When managed by a professional management company fantastic occupancy levels of almost 100% can be achieved.

Knight Frank declared student property the best performing property investment in 2012, with rental income rising by 5 per cent per annum and returns averaging 11.5 per cent.

Strong exit strategy

Student accommodation investment properties are an asset that are growing in popularity with rising demand from property investors.

When good and consistent rents are achieved they becomes more valuable, and easy to to sell. When re-selling they can be of particular interest to other investors.

If you own a property that you would like to manage please get in touch. Or if you are interested in investment properties visit


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International Students set to fill Student Housing

Any uncertainty over whether landlords of student housing would struggle to let their properties after a sharp increase in the price of Uni tuition is over, following a rise in university applications, driven by foreign students.

The number of foreign students coming to the UK is fast increasing, and over the next 10 years it is predicated to rise further. University recruiters are working hard to attract an international mix who are not put off by our high tuition costs. After all international students studying in British universities have been paying fees since the 1980s.

Many student housing landlords did have major concerns after the number of University applications seriously fell when the Government increased tuition fees to more than £9000 a year. The owners of student housing felt uncertain about whether they would continue to fill their properties year on year. However, University applications have started to rise, with a large proportion of those being from overseas students wishing to live and study here in the UK. Almost 559,000 students made applications to British universities by the official mid-January deadline, up by 3.5 per cent on the same point last year. Statistics show that numbers were being partly driven by a sharp rise in demand from foreign students, with applications soaring by almost 10 per cent.

China and Hong Kong continues to send the largest numbers of students to British universities and numbers were up by a quarter among those from Malaysia this year.

Owning and renting out your property to students both British and international is a salient way to earn steady inflation-matching investment returns. If you have a property you would like Mistoria Estate Agents to manage, we offer a tailored property management solution guaranteed to satisfy all your property requirements. We help you realise your property investment returns from day one.