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Lease Options Explained

manchester investment property

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 a Manchester investment property to rent out to students, 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, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Student Haus. 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

Manchester Student Houses

When you’re searching for Manchester student houses with your friends, 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.

If you are unsure about any of the terminology used in your Student Haus 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 Student Haus property. Please contact us by phoning 0161 509 5731.   

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?

salford letting agent

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 Student Haus 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 letting agent, Student Haus, on 0161 509 5731. 

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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Finding Repossessed Properties for Sale

Estate Agents Manchester

Buy to Let landlords have long recognised the excellent opportunities for investment afforded by repossessed properties. For those who are new to investing or who have not gone down this route before, however, the purchasing process can seem daunting and there are a number of factors which many fail to consider. With mortgage companies unwilling to openly advertise properties as repossessed, how do you go about finding a suitable one and making the most of the often significantly discounted prices? In this blog post, we’ll highlight some of the key aspects to look out for and explain how to get a great deal on a property, whether you’re just making your first foray into the market or are looking to add to your existing portfolio. 

Telltale Signs

There are a number of things to look out for when purchasing a property which may hint that it is a repossession. Even before you view the property in person, you may be able to tell from the language used to describe it, either on the estate agent’s website, or on sites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. As the mortgage company wants to get the best possible price, it’s not uncommon for them to invite further bids even when a good offer has been made. Whilst varying slightly by agent the language used is fairly similar, referencing the offer that’s been made and calling for other interested parties to submit their own offers.

When it comes to actually visiting the property, the signs are usually fairly obvious. When you arrive, look for boarded up windows and doors, or windows with metal grates over them. On the front door, there may be a sign notifying the previous tenants that they must collect their belongings; this is known as a Chattel Notice. Inside the property, you may see signs on toilets and taps, or even coverings to stop you using them.  That’s because the systems will most likely have been drained. You may also come across the previous inhabitant’s personal belongings. If this is the case, looking around can be a somewhat eerie experience. 

Motivated / Distress Sellers

Mortgage companies and banks are often unwilling to admit that they are selling a repossession, believing that the stigma around them will lead to a lower final price. These organisations don’t themselves sell the properties; they’ll instead use one of three methods. The most common is enlisting the services of an estate agent, especially for repossessions which at one point were owner occupied,  

Properties which were instead formerly owned by Buy to Let landlords will usually be sold via LPA (Local Property Administrator) Receivers. Should a property fail to be sold through these means, the mortgage company may then opt to sell through an auction house, where some of the best bargains can be found. 

If you decide to make an offer on a repossessed property via an estate agent’s listing on a property site or in a local newspaper listing, there are a few things to remember. Making an offer is no guarantee that you’ll get the property, as it is a legal obligation for estate agents to  welcome extra offers right up until the point of contract exchange, a period which is limited to 28 days. The mortgage company or bank who uses their services will have only one aim; sell for the highest price possible. There is every possibility, then, that you’ll be gazumped on the 27th day. 

Consider also that you will be expected to cover surveying costs, which you’ll have to pay whether you end up making the highest offer or not. Don’t be tempted to not hire a conveyancer; not getting a professional’s opinion on the state of the property is hugely risky. If you purchase a property that has numerous defects and issues which were not assessed prior to purchase, you could be left with a major drain on your wallet. When you visit the property yourself, you should also double check everything, ensuring the description is accurate and that any changes you’d need to make are feasible and affordable. It may be worthwhile having a second viewing to pick on some of the finer details you might have missed the first time. When it comes to the legal side of things, use a solicitor who has experience of repossessions and who can get the process completed quickly. That way you’ll reduce the chance of gazumping and ensure the property is yours within the 28 day limit. If you don’t secure a purchase within this time frame, the property may be relisted, even if there are no better offers. 

Estate Agents vs Auction

If you’re new to investing, it’s probably safest to purchase through an estate agent. However, if you opt to use an auction, the process can be daunting and there may well be wealthier cash investors there to outbid you. Remember to look through the auction catalogue beforehand and visit the properties which interest you. As before, you’ll need to pay a conveyancer. Sticking to a budget is even more important when purchasing via auction. It can be incredibly easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment. If you make the highest offer it can be difficult to go back if you’ve changed your mind as you have to complete within 28 days of exchange. At the very least, you will not receive the 10% deposit back which you will have had to provide. 

Further Information

This is just some of the information you need to be aware of if you’re considering purchasing a repossessed property. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the team at Student Haus Estate Agents in Manchester. 

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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‘Hutching Up’ Increasingly Popular Outside London

salford student accommodation

The concept of ‘Hutching up’, which involves people, usually young professionals, living together in smaller accommodation to meet soaring rental costs, is typically associated with the London property market. But according to our parent company, Mistoria Group, the trend has now expanded to the rest of the UK, and is prevalent in many cities, including Salford.

What Does Hutching Up Mean?

Across many cities in the UK, flats, houses and HMOs are filled with young people who can only afford to live independently if they share accommodation with affordable rental charges. Mistoria has seen a 17% rise in the number of young professionals in the North West renting rooms in HMOs to save money over the past year.

Tenants in the UK are now paying an average of £959 monthly rent. according to the HomeLet Rental Index for May, representing a 2.7% increase on the same month a year earlier. 

Mish Liyanage, Managing Director, comments: “Many young people struggle to rent on their own and there is certainly a growing trend of flat and house sharing amongst young professionals. Whilst students have been sharing accommodation for many years, more and more recent graduates are finding that they can’t afford to live independently. If they’ve stayed in a good quality HMO as a student, unsurprisingly graduates see no reason to change their living circumstances when faced with a huge hike in rental costs.

“We have seen lots of young professionals take on our student lets – mainly a room in an HMO, with a shared kitchen and sitting room. Our properties are finished to a very high standard and require just £80-£110 a week to rent, bills included. We are even able to offer Deposit Free Renting. For many, not having to set up electric, gas, broadband and TV accounts or pay council tax and find hundreds of pounds for a deposit and for the month’s rent, is a massive bonus. Having the luxury of being able to budget, without having fluctuating monthly bills, has all contributed to the rise of hutching.”

“The quality of HMO accommodation on the market has improved dramatically over the last few years. Young professionals are very discerning and large flat screen TVs, leather furniture, high speed broadband and en-suites are all quite standard now. Landlords can no longer cram as many people in as possible to maximise rental income.  A property with three medium/large rooms finished to a very high spec will easily generate £80-110 per week in rent, compared with four small rooms with a poor spec at just £65-75 per week.”

Salford Student Accommodation 

If you’re on the hunt for Salford student accommodation for the next academic year, look no further than Student Haus. We can help you and your friends find the property that’s right for you, at the right price. Please get in touch with the team to find out how we can help.

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.

If you are interested in purchasing an investment property, please visit the Mistoria Group website

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Rent to Rent: The Pros and Cons

salford letting agents

In the past few years, the concept of ‘Rent to Rent’ has become more popular, but is still fairly rare. In this blog post, we’ll explain how it works and what you need to consider before entering into such an agreement. We’ll also give you a brief overview of its advantages and disadvantages.  

What is Rent to Rent?

Rent to Rent, or RtR, involves a person (or in some cases a company), paying a landlord rent on a property, usually on a fairly long term basis. This individual, known as a ‘middle’ tenant, then finds other ‘end’ tenants to live in the property. The middle tenant effectively acts as the landlord, assuming responsibility for the expenses associated with the maintenance and upkeep of the property, but by charging more in rent to the occupiers than they pay to the landlord, they make a profit. Whether the middle tenant manages to let out the property or not, they must pay rent to the landlord at the pre-agreed price. 

Three Methods

There are three ways a middle tenant might make a profit. The first and most simple, is by operating a single let, rented at a discounted price from the landlord. The middle tenant then rents out the property for a higher rate (but not one that’s markedly above market value as tenants will not be interested) to an end tenant and turns a profit this way. 

The second method, which is becoming increasingly popular, is to turn the property into an HMO. Whilst there will be considerably more work involved in managing numerous occupiers, there is greater potential for a higher return. The middle tenant must notify the landlord that they intend to operate the property in this way; depending on the landlord they may then require a higher rent to reflect that the property will no longer be rented by the end tenants on a single let basis. 

Remember though that there are considerably more regulations involved with HMOs and there may be additional setup costs to convert the property, for example by turning a lounge into another bedroom. Depending on these costs, it may be a year or more before the middle tenant turns a profit. Furthermore, such a conversion may actually breach the restrictions of the landlord’s mortgage so this should be checked carefully. For more information on HMO property investment, please visit the Mistoria Group website

Finally, the property could be turned into serviced accommodation, where occupiers pay by the week or even by the day. They might be to holidaymakers or people on business trips. The middle tenant may offer services such as cleaning. Again, a lot of work is needed for such accommodation to operate effectively, but if the property is consistently occupied, it’s possible for the tenant to make more money than through a traditional single let. 

Advantages

One of the main reasons a landlord will enter into such an arrangement is that they will always receive their monthly rent payment, whether the property is occupied or not. This removes the inherent risk of renting out a property, which is that of void periods. This risk is passed onto the middle tenant. Landlords also need not be responsible for bills and maintenance costs. They then do not have to go through the hassle and stress of managing the property themselves. 

However, there are also a number of advantages for the middle tenant. They do not have to purchase the property themselves and do not have to take on the burden of mortgage costs. This is particularly useful for the tenant if they do not qualify for a mortgage (for example due to a poor credit score). The tenant may also not have the money saved needed to put down a deposit on a property. This is a fairly easy way for them to enter onto the property investment ladder without considerable funds. 

Disadvantages

That said, there are a few disadvantages. In return for managing the property on a landlord’s behalf, the middle tenant will expect a lower than market average rent. Landlords may therefore not make as much money as they would if they managed the property themselves. 

The key consideration for the middle tenant is that they will not be able to take advantage of the capital growth of the property, which is one of the greatest benefits of owning a property outright.   

The middle tenant has taken on the landlord’s risk. If they cannot find suitable tenants, they may lose a considerable amount of income. Even if tenants have been found, there is still the chance that they fall into arrears. In this situation the middle tenant will still have to pay the landlord rent, effectively covering for the occupiers who have fallen behind. 

Other Considerations 

RtR, whilst niche, is still completely legal. However, before entering into such agreements, both middle tenants and landlords must ensure that they are complying with all relevant legislation and that they are both adequately protected. A landlord would not want to end up in the difficult position of having a middle tenant who has fled after collecting deposits and rent from end tenants, for example. Therefore, any agreement must be specifically tailored for an RtR arrangement. It would be well worth employing a solicitor to check any documentation over. In particular, it should specify who is responsible for major repair work on the property. Whilst the middle tenant is responsible for everyday maintenance, where does the boundary lie? It may be agreed that it is the landlord’s responsibility to repair things such as the roof, otherwise the middle tenant could lose all their profits in one go. Landlords should also check that their mortgage agreements do not prevent this kind of arrangement; if they do not, their property could be at risk of repossession.  

The landlord should also carry out extensive checks and cross references on the middle tenant. After all, it is this individual who will be responsible for vetting end tenants and the landlord needs to ensure they will carry out their duties in the correct manner. If the middle tenant is a company, landlords should check that they have always worked in full compliance with the law and try to find previous clients to ensure their suitability. Remember that the tenancy can’t be ended by filing a Section 21 notice, as these only relate to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs). 

Equally, the middle tenant should also check that the landlord is reputable and that the property is in good order before signing anything. When it comes to renting out the property to end tenants, specify that the rental term to be one day less than that agreed with the landlord. If this is not done, in certain circumstances the landlord could theoretically directly claim the rent from the occupiers, cutting the middle tenant out of the equation entirely. 

There are many ways to find landlords willing to enter into such arrangements. Most commonly, they can either be found through an estate or letting agent, though many middle tenants also opt to advertise on free listing sites such as Gumtree. 

More Information 

Rent to Rent arrangements are not appropriate for everyone and serious considerations of  the pros and cons is required before making any decisions. If you intend to rent out a property, you should still purchase it if you can afford to do so, so that you retain control of its management and take advantage of its capital growth, 

However, if you don’t have much capital, RtR is a good investment starting point and could enable you to start saving to build up your own portfolio in the future.  

For more information on these arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Salford letting agents, Student Haus. 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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COVID-19: A Message For Our Customers

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation develops we are making every effort to keep you updated, in line with the latest Government advice. 

We are currently taking a ‘Business As Usual’ approach and have stringent contingency plans in place. We are well prepared to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our customers and staff.  We are trying to keep the processes of renting, letting and management as smooth and simple as possible. 

Whilst we are aiming to minimise face-to-face contact in line with the social distancing guidelines, the Student Haus team can still be contacted via email and phone. We are able to offer video walkthrough property viewings and can still carry out instructions. We will continue to do our best to manage landlordsproperties, though please be aware that we may only be able to remedy emergency maintenance issues. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continuing support at this difficult time. If you have any queries or worries, please contact us on 0161 694 6427. 

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Periodic Inspections: A Guide

student houses manchester

If you’re a landlord that lets out a property to students, you’ll be well aware of the importance of carrying out periodic inspections throughout each tenancy. Doing so allows you to check your house in good condition and your tenants are complying with the tenancy agreement.

At Student Haus, we conduct these inspections on your behalf, on a quarterly basis. We  evaluate the overall condition of the property, including both the interior and exterior, looking out for maintenance issues, tenants’ living conditions, damp and mould, leaks, fixtures and fittings, the garden’s condition and fair wear and tear. After our inspection, we will provide you with a report detailing any issues we found.

Repairs and Maintenance Issues

The main reason we carry out periodic inspections is to spot any obvious maintenance issues. It is the perfect opportunity to uncover and repair any minor problems, that if ignored could become much worse. It’s always easier and cheaper to repair problems as early as possible. Whilst most tenants do report the serious issues they find, relying on them for information isn’t enough to ensure that everything is in working order. We often find that they do not report minor issues until it’s too late. Moreover, some tenants, through no fault of their own, will be completely unaware of potential problems. It is always wise to have a fresh pair of eyes to look over the property.

Tenants’ Living Conditions

Whilst the property may be in a good condition, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your tenants are looking after your investment. Although you may not be able to evict them based on their living conditions, you may decide that you do not wish to renew their contracts at the end of the tenancy agreement. Of course, you cannot tell your tenant how to live if they are untidy, but we will inform them that their actions will damage the property if this is the case. For example, if they do not clean the bathrooms, this could result in staining of the fixtures and fittings.

Damp and Mould

Some of the most common issues we come across are damp and mould, the prevention of which tenants tend to overlook. Many tenants simply don’t realise how dangerous and serious mould infestations can be, but you must be aware of them. We will look around windows and sinks and pay particular attention to rooms prone to moisture, such as the bathroom and kitchen, as well as pipework hidden away in kitchen units. We’ve produced more detailed advice about preventing mould, damp and condensation in a separate blog post, which you can read here. 

Leaks

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

Fixtures and Fittings

We check all of the property’s fixtures and fittings to make sure they have not been damaged and are still in good working order. We will do the same for any other appliances you may have provided.  

The Garden

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

Fair Wear and Tear

There is a fine line between fair wear and tear and actual damage, so one of the objectives of our inspections is to assess whether issues we discover in the property have been caused by tenant negligence. You can only make your tenants liable for damage, not fair wear and tear. As we look around the property, we will consider which issues were caused by reasonable use of the property on a daily basis (such as scuff marks on the walls).

More Information

Our 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. If you are a landlord and would like to discuss in more detail the service Student Haus can offer you, please contact us on 0161 694 6427.

You can be assured that you are receiving the highest quality service when you use Student Haus because 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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What is Deposit Free Renting?

manchester student rentals

In partnership with deposit alternative provider, Zero Deposit, Student Haus is now able to offer deposit free renting, making moving into your student house considerably cheaper and easier. 

How Does It Work? 

Zero deposit renting is simple, affordable and easy. Instead of paying your traditional security deposit and one month’s rent, you simply have to pay a one-off non-refundable fee of one week’s rent (a Zero Deposit Guarantee) plus a £26 admin fee. Once you’ve signed the relevant paperwork, you’re all done – it’s now time to move into your new student house and use the money you saved to treat yourself to something nice! 

At the end of your contract, if you owe any rent or you’ve damaged the property, you’ll be expected to pay to cover the costs. The Dispute Service settles all disputes over claims with their impartial arbitration process. If you’ve left your house as you found it when you moved in, you’ll have nothing to pay. 

If you decide to stay in the same house the following year, you’ll only need to pay a small admin fee to Zero Deposit when you renew your contract.   

For absolute peace of mind, you can rest assured that Zero Deposit is FCA regulated. You can find out more about the benefits Zero Deposit renting offers here and download our simple guide to deposit free renting here. 

The Traditional Security Deposit 

Since April 2007, landlords and agents have had to protect tenant deposits in one of three government-backed tenancy deposit schemes; mydeposits, the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme) and DPS (Deposit Protection Scheme). If you would prefer this traditional method, we can still cater for your needs. No deposits are held by Student Haus. 

Before moving in, you’ll need to pay a deposit to secure your property. Once we’ve received the deposit, we’ll make sure the property won’t be let to anyone else. As we let out the majority of our student properties on a room-by-room basis, every member of your group must pay their own deposit. This keeps you protected if one of your friends suddenly decides to leave the property without paying some of their rent. We’ll then provide you with an inventory of everything in the house and a description of the state of the property. It’s your responsibility to check that you agree with this inventory before signing it.  

At the end of the tenancy, if your house is in the state you found it in, you’ll get your full deposit back. There are a few things for which your landlord can’t deduct from your deposit, including general wear and tear and issues which they were told about but did not act on to resolve. If there are only a few scuffs and marks on the wall, your landlord cannot use your deposit to redecorate the entire room. 

If you’ve caused any damage to the property and haven’t reported it, or you’ve failed to pay rent, you’ll forfeit some or all of your deposit at the end of your contract to cover any costs. If the damage has occurred in a communal area, the cost of repairs will be divided between all tenants; if it’s in a bedroom, only that tenant will have to pay. We will always inform you if we intend to make a deduction. You have the right to appeal our decision, at which point your deposit protection scheme will work to settle any disputes. 

Any Questions?

If you would like to find out more about our deposit free Manchester student rentals, please contact the team on 0161 694 6427. 

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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Electrical Safety Legislation for Landlords

student houses salford

Under recently proposed Government legislation, which looks set to be approved, landlords in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) must arrange for an electrical safety assessment to be carried out by a qualified and competent inspector. Failure to comply with the new laws could leave landlords facing hefty fines.

Mandatory Testing 

The new legislation, formally called The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020, is due to be rolled out over the next two years. Inspections will be compulsory for all new and renewed tenancies from 1st July 2020 and for existing tenancies from 1st April 2021. 

As a result of the legislation, every fixed electrical installation must be assessed every five years and should meet the 18th Edition of Wiring Regulations. The qualified person who carries out the inspection must also produce an electrical installation condition report (EICR) for the landlord, which presents the inspection’s findings and which must be given to any existing tenants within 28 days. The landlord should keep a copy for their records until the next inspection. If a new tenant moves into the property, they must be supplied with a copy of the most recent report prior to moving in. Furthermore, should the local housing authority request a copy, this must be supplied within seven days; if a prospective tenant makes the request, it must be provided within 28 days.   

If a landlord fails to organise for the inspections to take place and cannot provide a written report to the local housing authority when asked, they will be liable to pay fines of up to £30,000. 

Industry Response 

ARLA have for the most part been supportive of the proposals. Chief executive, David Cox stated “It will create a level playing field for all agents and landlords as well as ensuring improved safety standards for tenants.” He stressed that landlords who act professionally will hardly be affected by the legislation and that many already carry out effective testing voluntarily. ARLA were initially concerned that there would be insufficient engineers to carry out the testing, but assurances have been made by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government that this will not be an issue. 

Although they do not believe it is the intention of the bill, the RLA has highlighted the fact that in its current form, the legislation invalidates any existing non-mandatory EICRs that do not meet the requirements of the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations. These Regulations were only introduced in 2019, rendering the majority of EICRs invalid. It is hoped that when the legislation’s wording is finalised, it will allow for existing EICRs to remain valid. 

Issues Discovered

If the competent inspector discovers an issue with your property, you need to ensure that they carry out the work, or further investigations, within 28 days. This timeframe may need to be reduced if that is the recommendation of the report. Once the remedial work has been carried out, a new written report is necessary which declares that the property now meets the legislation’s requirements and can be deemed safe. This report must then be submitted to the local authority. 

How Mistoria Can Help

If you would like some more information about obtaining an EIRC and your duties as a landlord, please feel free to get in touch with the team at Bolton letting agents, Mistoria, on 0800 500 3015. We have a dedicated maintenance team who will be able to ensure your property is compliant with any legislation the Government demands. If you are looking to purchase student houses in Salford we can help with that too. 

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.