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Mistoria Lettings was formed in 2009 and is one of the leading letting agents in the UK. Providing high quality accommodation for students, professionals, residential and commercial tenants, we operate in Salford, Manchester, Liverpool, Lancashire and across the entire North West region. From our inception, we have witnessed extensive growth in a short time. With a solid vision for future growth, we aim to be managing in excess of 1000 houses by 2015.
We pride ourselves on providing exceptional customer service and our testimonials are confirmation of this. Each member of our ARLA qualified team has extensive knowledge and experience of the property market and is on hand to guide you in sourcing or letting your property. Whether you are a prospective tenant seeking a short or long term rental, or a landlord seeking a healthy return on your investment, we are dedicated to helping you achieve your goals.
Managing Director: MBA, ACMA, AACS, BBA(Special), AIB, NW Region CIMA Council Member
It’s been a much more positive year for UK property, with house prices increasing and the market on the move. Whilst activity levels rise, the Mistoria Group is rising too.
It is a special and very necessary blend of talent that has enabled entrepreneur, Mish Liyanage, to build an empire from the ashes of the current property crisis. That a Company formed only in 2009 has grown so successfully is impressive enough, but that’s only the beginning. Mish has big plans for the Mistoria Group.
“In terms of growth, I’m aiming for us to complete 120 refurbishment properties a year, with a target of managing 1000 houses by 2015.” said Mish.
Whilst many UK companies have felt the pinch of the recession, the Mistoria Group has never been busier. Specialising in the high yielding student and professional accommodation market, the Company incorporates: Mistoria Investments, Mistoria Lettings, Mistoria Renovations, Furnishing & Maintenance, Mistoria Estate Agency, Mistoria Surveys, Mistoria International and MCC Accountants; a selection of bespoke companies dedicated to servicing every possible client need in all areas of property investment, providing a comprehensive ‘turnkey’ property solution from property sourcing right up to taxation. In its offerings, it is unique.
“The recession has been the ideal environment for our expansion because property prices in the North of England are still low, so we have been able to acquire property at prices up to 50% lower than at the peak in 2007. The rental market is high as many still simply can’t afford to buy their own property.” he said. According to Mish, property remains the best possible investment in the medium to long term, offering security, a tangible asset and an excellent income.
“We started trading after the beginning of the recession so didn’t carry any debt. I always ensured we operate cash positive, as cash is king for any start up business in its growth phase.” said Mish. “We have been approached recently by a number of key private investors, celebrities and sports agents who wish to deal with a professional company. Healthy, mutually beneficial relationships with clients, suppliers and contractors are vital. Perseverance, focus and delivering on what you have promised have been the most important lessons for me in business.”
This, combined with a higher than average dose of entrepreneurial spirit, natural leadership and sheer hard work, has laid solid foundations for the Manchester based Company. At a time when many had lost faith in the market, the Mistoria Group appeared to be giving credibility back to the industry, with the close-knit team of professionals and chartered accountants in possession of more than 80 years combined property experience and extensive local knowledge. And it’s clear that, for Mish, both ethical practice and his employees are key to Mistoria’s growth. “The employees are presented with good opportunities and are able to progress quickly. It’s very important to me that they are motivated, as they make the company.” he said.
And Mish has certainly used his own knowledge to make quite an impact in his professional career. A qualified Chartered Management Accountant, he holds an MBA in strategic management and business process management, having worked at Ernst and Young (Sri Lankan Office), amongst others, in the twenty years prior to forming the Mistoria Group. It’s fair to say, Mish Liyanage is a busy man.
“I’m on the go pretty much 24/7 and my head never really switches off. There are rarely two working days that are the same and the job can be very pressured.” he says. “Some do worry about the pace at which I work but I stay fit and healthy. I try to go to the gym at least twice a week and play tennis, golf and swim during the weekends and make it a point to spend time with my family.”
“I tend to be extremely hands-on and ambitious and will always give 100%. At the moment, I feel I am the best person with my accounting background to drive the Mistoria Group forward in its growth phase, but in the next 12-24 months depending on performance, commitment and loyalty, I aim to appoint capable directors/CEO’s to run the lettings and estate agency side, accounts (MCC Accountants), RFM (Renovations, Furnishing and Maintenance) and Building consultancy, and the project management side. We have also developed an International arm to the business, which I intend to grow over the next year.”
“Leadership is all about finding the right people whom you can trust and when the time is right, you need to delegate and look at scaling up your business by building replicable infrastructure in any key UK city when there is an opportunity and a demand for properties.”
Senior Lettings Manager: Dip. Business Management, ARLA
Managing the day to day running of a busy letting agents is no easy feat. It’s a process that requires dedication, hard work and professional drive. Step forward, Senior Lettings Manager, Mike Howard.
With more than twenty years’ experience in the property industry, Mike Howard has all the knowledge required for the position that he holds at Mistoria Lettings. As Senior Lettings Manager, a role he has enjoyed for three years, his responsibilities are wide and varied. “My day can involve so many aspects.” said Mike. “I manage the day to day running of this small team and in between letting properties, I can also be finalising lease agreements, conducting viewings, talking to new landlords and dealing with accounts. There is pressure at times, but I work well in a demanding job. My strengths are my expertise in property management, particularly the legal side of the process.”
A number of interesting past positions have led Mike to Mistoria’s door, having previously developed service stations for Mobil Oil in Durban, South Africa, before moving to the real estate side of the business and then returning home with his family in 1998 after 15 years overseas. He has brought this exceptional skill base with him, to a job that he loves. “I do love everything about my job.” says Mike. “Our team work extremely well together and thrive on the synergy we produce. This drive has led to growth in the lettings division and across all areas of the business. As a group of Companies, we slot in well with one another.”
With the Mistoria Group as a whole achieving incredible growth since its inception in 2009, the future is looking positive for this team of focussed employees. Despite working long hours, it’s a sacrifice each member of staff appears more than happy to make. “The day can be a long one.” said Mike, “but when you enjoy the work and are looking to the future, it’s an acceptable compromise. For me, working at Mistoria Lettings is a long term commitment, to maintain the team and enhance our reputation as a professional agency. I’m aiming for directorship on the Board.”
With an ambitious strategy in place, Mike is keen to forge ahead and well placed to achieve his goals. “More and more people are opting to rent and despite the recession, property is still viewed as a relatively risk-free, high return investment. It’s going to be another busy year!”
As Senior Administrator for the lettings division at the Mistoria Group, Pam Higham’s working day is engaging and varied. Here, she explains why a good working environment keeps her motivated.
“Contractually, my working day finishes at 5pm, but I rarely leave the office before 6.” says Pam. “I’m happy to stay for as long as it takes. You get out of the role what you put in and I’m very conscientious.”
For Pam, who has worked in the property industry for more than twelve years, a move to Mistoria Lettings was a logical step when her contract expired at the social housing association she worked at prior to joining the Company. “I had worked with Mike (Howard) years previously and we had kept in touch. We worked well together and therefore, the move to Mistoria Lettings felt natural.”
Pam’s day is extremely busy but she readily admits, there isn’t one element of the role she doesn’t relish. Overseeing all administrative aspects of the department, including the legal aspects of the process can be demanding, but Pam thrives on the pressure.
“It is a small team but we all work very closely together and everybody plays their part. It’s an enjoyable working environment and the chemistry is good. I do believe this is key to our success and the success of the Group as a whole. The employees are dedicated and knowledgeable and Mish ensures that there is strong communication and clarity across all divisions. Essentially, he brings everything together.”
Pam is committed, happy in her position and keen to progress. “I do see myself staying at Mistoria Lettings for the long term.” she says “and going forward, am hoping to obtain an ARLA (Association of Residential Lettings Agents) qualification.”
Clearly, life for Pam is hectic. But, despite the demands of the job, she prioritises family life and precious time with her four year old Grandson. “I spend one day a week caring for my Grandson and cherish that time with him.” she said. “He’s a real inspiration and you do have more time to give as a Grandmother. I work hard at the Mistoria Group and then feel able to enjoy spending time with family. It’s a balancing act but a very good feeling to enjoy both work and private time.”
Sales Manager, Lettings
The success of the increasingly busy lettings division at the Mistoria Group depends very much on its key players. Thankfully, Chris Cantor is using his passion and expertise to maintain their growing business.
At just 27 years of age, Chris Cantor already has a surprising amount of experience in the property industry. With his family still retaining property interests, a move into this line of work felt natural. “I had always anticipated a career in lettings and have worked at four different companies now, mainly in the city centre and South Manchester area.” says Chris, who studied business enterprise at Manchester Metropolitan University. “I have a good knowledge of what works and what doesn’t and like to think of myself as a people person. You couldn’t do this job well if you weren’t. You also need to be patient and a multi-tasker!”
Chris has brought these unique skills with him to Mistoria Lettings, where his role, as lettings sales manager, can see him undertaking a wide variety of responsibilities. “It’s relatively early days but I’m already extremely busy and no two days are every quite the same.” he says. “I can sometimes be found carrying out viewings in Preston or Liverpool. On other days, I am in the office arranging inspections, dealing with tenants and assisting Mike and Pam, both of whom are very supportive. It’s a great learning environment and we all work extremely well together.”
With the Mistoria Group achieving extraordinary growth since its inception in 2009, the letting agents have never been busier. Despite the challenges often presented juggling the tricky demands of landlords and tenants, Chris can work well under pressure, is enjoying his position and can see a future at the growing company. “There never seem to be enough hours in the day, but I can definitely see myself staying here.” he says. “It’s also an interesting time to be working in the industry. Consumer confidence has returned and property is definitely a sound choice for the savvy investor.”
It would seem that when it comes to the right ‘balance’ of work versus play, Chris certainly has his life in order and when the lights go out in Mistoria Lettings’ offices, he heads for the hills. “Camping is my thing. I love getting away to the peak district or lake district to get back to nature. I enjoy the peace. That way, when Monday morning comes around again, I’m firing on all cylinders!”
29th August 2014 : Tenancy deposits: what can and cannot be deducted
What can and cannot be deducted from a tenancy deposit? We discuss the fair 'wear and tear' rule vs. damage and where the boundaries lie...