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

manchester student rentals

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 the health of your tenants, as exposure to mould can cause severe 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.

Winter hazards in Manchester student rentals

Part of the professional letting agent service from Student Haus 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 Manchester student rentals however if you are a landlord of any sort and would like to discuss in more detail the service Student Haus can offer you, please contact us on 0161 509 5731.

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Landlords: Are You Up To Date With MEES Regulations?

manchester student house

Landlords: Are You Up To Date With MEES Regulations?

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 letting agents go over the important details that may effect your Manchester student house.

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 we  can help with your Manchester student house

Student Haus offers a variety of highly sophisticated, professional and tailored property management solutions, to effectively manage your Manchester student house. 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 0161 509 5731 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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How to Avoid Deposit Disputes as a Student Tenant

Manchester student lettings

How to Avoid Deposit Disputes as a Student Tenant

Deposit disputes at student lettings can be stressful and time-consuming. Fortunately, with proper planning and preparation, most can be avoided altogether. As the new academic year begins, here are some things our Manchester student lettings specialists think students should know about that reduce the likelihood of deposit disputes.

The Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) Scheme and Prescribed Information

When you have paid your deposit, the landlord must place it in one of three government-approved tenancy deposit schemes within thirty days of receiving it. This ensures that you will get your deposit back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, don’t damage the property, and pay your rent and bills. The rule applies even if your deposit is paid by someone other than yourself, such as your parents.

Within the same timeframe of 30 days, your landlord must serve you the Prescribed Information, which includes the details you will need on the TDP scheme, including how the deposit is protected and how to apply to get it back.

If there is a dispute over how much of your deposit you will get back, it will be protected in the TDP scheme until the issue is resolved. When you have come to an agreement with your landlord, they have ten days to return the agreed amount to you.

The Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and your landlord. It can be written or verbal, though it is generally better to have a written contract so that everyone knows what is expected of them. It should lay out the important details and responsibilities relating to your tenancy, including:

  • Your name, the name of your landlord and the address of the property that is being let
  • The start and end dates of your tenancy
  • The rent amount and who is liable to pay it
  • What the rent includes, for example council tax or electricity bills
  • Cleaning and maintenance responsibilities. This should include the landlord’s obligations for making repairs to the property, and your responsibility to keep the property clean and tidy.

Sharing a house with other tenants

In addition to your tenancy agreement, it can be helpful to make a separate, informal agreement between yourself and the other tenants living at the property. It could be written or verbal, and might include the division of responsibilities like washing up and cleaning communal areas, and any rules to keep everybody happy, like not playing loud music after a certain time.

As well as maintaining good relationships between tenants, this could also benefit your relationship with your landlord by ensuring the house is kept in good condition and not disturbing the neighbours.

Helpful Tips

Know your landlord’s contact information

Your landlord must provide you with their name and address before they can charge rent. If you do not have this information, you can make a written request to the person who receives the rent for the full name and address of the landlord. They are then legally obliged to provide you with this information in writing within 21 days.

Start your search early for the next academic year

Landlords and student letting agents usually put their properties on the market early for the following academic year – often around mid-October. By taking advantage of this and finding your property early, you will have more properties to choose from and will be able to iron out all of the details with your landlord in plenty of time, reducing the risk of deposit disputes further down the line.

Further Information on our Manchester student lettings

Whilst following the advice here will significantly improve your chances of a dispute-free student tenancy, it doesn’t cover everything. To learn more about TDP schemes, tenancy agreements or anything else related to student lettings, contact us on 0161 509 5731 so we can advise you further.

Student Haus is part of Mistoria Estate Agents, one of the leading student lettings agencies in the North West, with offices in Manchester, Salford, Liverpool and Bolton. Our Comprehensive Property Protection means all properties go through our inventory service to include photographic or video evidence, protecting both tenant and landlord.

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

student homes 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 student homes, Salford based Student Haus, have a wide range of student properties available to rent. Contact us now

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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

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