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Renting Boom is Easing The Gloom

Article from Manchester Evening News October 2011

 A phone call from a doctor complaining that his vacuum cleaner has broken – when in fact all he needs to do is change the bag.These are the sort of pleas for help that Jen and Rob Wildblood receive from modern day renters.

The couple, who own Montrose Properties in West Didsbury, have a giggle whilst pointing out that tenants can be far less hands-on than they once were. Luckily a maintenance team is on hand to tackle problems, like the student who doesn’t know how to change a light bulb, with a grin on their faces.

The same can’t be said for first-time buyers kept off the property ladder by sky-high deposits and a lack of suitable mortgage deals.However, the Wildbloods – who bought the business in 1996 after both working there for a number of years – point out that the changing trend from buying to renting has brought positives. Obviously, the couple welcome a shift away from the traditional British viewpoint – that renting is ‘dead money’ – towards a more European outlook. Countries like France and Germany have never seen long-term renting in the same negative light in the UK. And now, with a changing social as well as economic climate, it’s starting to rub off on Brits too.

Jen says: “Our generation was brought up on the premise that you save up and you buy your own home. It was attainable then, but now that has changed.“Everything has gone up in price, we’re in economic turmoil. People can’t save up for the deposit, and the banking crisis means they are not being offered the mortgage products they need.”And although the gloomy economic environment has played a huge part, other factors have contributed too.Jen says: “People are getting married later, and don’t want to be tied to our home town, or even our home country. They are more adventurous and owning property can restrict that adventurous instinct.”Most recently they have welcomed househunters from the BBC in London – as they move to MediaCity in Salford.“At one point we were showing a guy from Newsround, someone from Five Live and a researcher – all on the same day at the same house,” Jen laughs.

In the past three or four years Jen, 41, and Rob, 43, have also observed an increase in families needing a home to rent – whether it be because they can’t get on the property ladder in the first place, as a stop-gap while they find a new home to buy once their sale has gone through, or even if they had a foot on the first rung only to have found they couldn’t sustain it.

Hand-in-hand with the demand has come the supply of a new type of property. Lettings agents traditionally offered terraces and Victorian conversions to students and young professionals, but now semi-detached homes are also available.A huge development in recent years has centred around city centre apartment living – with landlords even invited to buy after only viewing the plans. Montrose, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, and most of their landlords kept their distance from the concept – believing that investing in property to let is about looking at the long-haul, rather than a quick capital growth result.

Rob says: “During the boom it was fine, but the problem was that when there was a dip every apartment was the same, in the same building, with the same furniture – so the only thing to give was the rent.”Trends are changing inside people’s rented homes too, with Jen observing an increase in the number of people on the hunt for unfurnished properties.Along with all this has been a greater shift towards longer term tenancies of a year rather than six months in order to achieve greater security.It would be easy to assume that with such increases in demand comes with a rent hike.

Of course the figures are very different today. A two-bed terrace in Didsbury costs between £850 and £1,000 a month to rent today, compared to around £390 when Jen started at Montrose in 1988. But in real terms, she believes rents have not increased dramatically.Instead, she says she has seen an improvement in the standard on offer, more rigorous health and safety regulations, and good practice guidelines, which are followed by reputable agents.“I think there is more affordable, good quality housing on the market now,” Jen says.


September 2011

Kathryn Stott, Nelson Goerner and friends....

 Over 220 tickets sold out for the classical music event at the Emmanuel Church in Didsbury Village as part of Didsbury Arts Festival. All funds raised are for the musical charity Nordoff-Robbins.



Open The Door To Art




Their usual adornments often include handles, bells, knockers and peepholes, however for the week of the Didsbury Arts Festival the decoration on twelve front doors around West Didsbury will be a little more imaginative.


To celebrate our 30th anniversary, local artists Ben Williams and Dan Mozley have decorated a selection of doors on Clyde, Old Lansdowne and Queenston Road with famous faces from the past 30 years.


 Rob and Jennifer Wildblood, owners of Montrose, also invited pupils from Parrs Wood High School to take part in the collaborative street art exhibition which is included in the community festival’s Art Trail programme. Four Year 11 students from the Didsbury school, along with head of art Sue Sheppard, spent a couple of days adorning their two doors with images of local artists Lowry and Ofili.


Jennifer said; “Being part of the West Didsbury community is hugely important to us, and the local people have shown us great support over the years, so to celebrate this milestone we wanted to do something that everyone in the area can enjoy. “It was fantastic to get the school involved, and support a few budding artists. The work they have produced is brilliant!”


The properties receiving the temporary facelift are all managed by the agency and the landlords donating these unlikely canvases are thrilled to be involved. “We’ve had a number of the landlords, and the tenants living in the properties, asking us if it will really be necessary to paint over the art work after the festival has finished.


The usual paint job on front doors can be quite uninspiring, this exhibition will certainly brighten up the neighbourhood,” commented Rob.


For both Ben and Dan this is the first exhibition they have done on this kind of scale and the first time they have worked together artistically. “Dan and I work together during the day however this is the first time we have properly collaborated on an exhibition,” said Ben. Dan added; “I think our skill sets really complement each other and the freedom we’ve been given has allowed each of us to showcase our talents. We’re really thankful to Montrose and the Festival organisers for giving us this opportunity to work together and get our art in the public eye.”


The graphic style they have chosen for the doors means they are easily visible from the pavement and the doors are unmissable due to the neon background colours used.


The theme they have chosen will also resonate with locals as some of the famous faces are previous Montrose tenants and used to live in the area. Despite being slightly hindered by the weather the young artists had a lot of fun creating the exhibition. Dan said; “We have both, bizarrely, worked on human skin before, however a front door is certainly one of the more strange things we have used as a canvas.” “It was a challenge but one we both gratefully accepted as it has been fantastic exhibition to work on, we hope the public will enjoy them!” added Ben.


 The next stage of the exhibition is now well under way. The completed doors have been captured by fine art photographer Pete Kelly, who will create a photo montage using modern printing techniques combined with the ancient Encaustic process, where beeswax and resin are applied to the image to create a more painterly effect.


Pete’s unique photograph will be hung in the Festival Gallery and will be auctioned off at a classical concert, held in aid of the musical therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, which Montrose is also sponsoring.


“Throughout its 30 years in business Montrose has always supported local and national charities. We raised a lot of money for Francis House in our 25th year, much of which was raised when Rob did a charity sky-dive,” said Jennifer. “Luckily I get to keep my feet firmly on the ground this year,” added Rob, “but our involvement with Didsbury Arts Festival is just exciting, and we’re giving the community a different kind of gift.”


Kathryn Stott, Nelson Goerner and friends....


Internationally acclaimed classical pianists Nelson Goerner and Kathryn Stott will headline an exceptional night of music-making as part of Didsbury Arts Festival 2011.


Considered among the most outstanding musicians of their generation, the pair will be joined by an impressive line-up, including Hungarian classical guitar duo, the Katona Twins, principal oboist of Manchester Camerata, Rachael Clegg and Didsbury-based soprano, Jill Taylor .


The concert is being held in aid of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Charity and will take place on Friday 30th September at 7.30 at Didsbury’s Emmanuel Church, Wilmslow Road.  Funds raised from ticket sales will help boost the UK charity’s work in transforming the lives of vulnerable children and adults through music.


Each of the artists has a hectic performance schedule taking them to all the major concert platforms worldwide. Lancashire-born Stott will arrive fresh from a summer tour of European music festivals, ending with a 2011 BBC proms performance with Yo Yo Ma.


“After such a busy year of international travel, I am delighted to be performing close to home in support of such a worthy cause, and also to be joined by my musical friends and colleagues who have agreed to give up their time and efforts free of charge to support Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Charity” said Kathryn Stott.


The charity concert, sponsored by Didsbury based Montrose Properties, will be a highlight of the Didsbury Arts Festival classical music programme which will also include afternoon and evening recitals through the week at a number of venues and concert performances by a wide range of Manchester based artists and musicians.

The eight day festival, which is now in its third year, runs 24th September to 1st October 2011.and features arts from all genres including poetry, jazz, theatre, fine art and street theatre.


Tickets for the Kathryn Stott and Friends charity concert are £15 per ticket including interval drink and can be purchased directly from Montrose Properties by telephone 0161 445 7000, or by calling in at their Didsbury office 20a Lapwing Lane, Didsbury Manchester.


MEDIA CONTACT: Jill Taylor, Stealth - 07879 471 636

Kathryn Stott

Kathryn StottAs a concerto soloist Kathryn Stott enjoys associations with major orchestras in Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, France, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan. This season she celebrates a fruitful quarter of a century partnership with Yo Yo Ma in concerts, tours and on recordings. In additions to this she has made nearly a dozen appearances at the BBC proms.


In the recording studio she has created a large and eclectic body of work including concertos and solo repertoire on a wide variety of labels including the complete solo piano music of Faure: solo pieces by Koechlin, Foulds, Schulhoff and Smetana: a solo piano disc, ‘Dance’: chamber music CDs with YoYo Ma, Truls Mork, Christian Poltera, the Hermitage piano Trio and, most recently, with cellist Guy Johnston (‘Milo’/Orchid Classics). Current and forthcoming recordings include three discs with the Doric String Quartet.


In 2008 Kathryn Stott celebrated her 50th birthday with 25 musician friends in a charity gala concert at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, raising £30k for HIV research and Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy of whose fundraising committee she is a member.



Nelson Goerner – pianist

Argentinian pianist Nelson Goerner has performed throughout Europe including at the Salzburg Festival, La Roque d’Anthéron, La Grange de Meslay (where he replaced Richter at short notice), Schleswig-Holstein and Verbier festivals, the Piano aux Jacobins series in Toulouse, and in halls such as the Musikverein in Vienna, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the South Bank Centre in London, and at Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires.  He has also performed with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Claus Peter Flor, the Deutsche Symphonie Orchestra of Berlin under Andrew Davis, the London Philharmonic Orchestra under Emmanuel Krivine, the Hallé Orchestra under Mark Elder, the Suisse Romande with Neemi Jarvi and Raphael Fruhbeck de Burgos, the Vienna Symphony, Sinfonia Varsovia, and the NHK Symphony Orchestra of Tokyo under Fabio Luisi.  He performs regularly at the BBC Proms.  In the USA and Canada, his appearances have included performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.


His discography includes a Chopin recording for EMI, discs of repertoire by Rachmaninov and Liszt for the Cascavelle label, Busoni’s Indian Fantasy for Chandos, and a new work for piano and orchestra by Jon Lord for EMI. His recording of Chopin for the Frederic Chopin Institute of Warsaw, performed on original instruments, was recently awarded the Diapason d’Or, and his Chopin recording on the Wigmore Hall Live label was instrumental Choice of the Month in BBC Music Magazine.  Recent releases also include a live recital on DVD from the Verbier Festival (2009) for the Ideale-Audience label featuring repertoire by Beethoven and Chopin.


The Katona Twins


Peter and Zoltán Katona, critically acclaimed by the Daily Telegraph as “ the classical world’s best known guitar duo” give recitals in the major concert venues throughout the world including performances at the Carnegie Hall, the Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo; Philharmonie in Cologne.


Rachael Clegg

Rachael Clegg is one of Britain’s busiest freelance oboists and enjoys a varied performing career alongside her teaching commitments.


Born in Lancashire, Rachael has based herself in the north of England after completing her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.


Since 1999, Rachael has held the position of Principal Oboe with Manchester Camerata. She also performs as Principal oboe with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and has toured with the John Wilson Orchestra. In 2010, she appeared with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Colin Davies at the Barbican, London.


Jill Taylor - soprano

Jill’s oratorio performances have included Durufle and Faure requiems, Handel’s Messiah, Verdi Requiem, Vaughan Williams “Sea Symphony”, Mozart C Minor mass, Bach B Minor mass and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius.

Her love of recital repertoire have included performances in the Lake District, Stoneyhurst College, The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and Preston midday recitals. Concert work with small ensembles and chamber orchestras has included John Taverner’s Russian song cycle ‘Akhmatova’s Songs’ for voice and cello, Mahler’s song cycle ‘Leider Eines Fahrenden Gessellen’ and Ravel’s ‘Chanson Madecasses’.


Jill’s operatic and light opera/musical roles include Carmen, Cherubino, Alphonse in ‘Une Education Manque’, Bastienna, the Mother in ‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’ and Kate in ‘Kiss Me Kate’.

Jill is a founder member of voice and piano trio Voci Dolci and their mixed repertoire of opera classics, art songs and show tunes make them favourite and regular perfomers at the Royal Exchange Theatre and other venues in the North West.


Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Charity

Nordoff  Robbins is a UK national charity and part of an international network of Nordoff  Robbins organisations all drawing inspiration from the innovative work of founders Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins.

Nordoff Robbins music therapists work with a children and adults suffering from a range of conditions such as autism, dementia, mental health problems, learning difficulties, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties and in some cases. Clients receive music therapy as part of their palliative care.

Nordoff Robbins delivers over 45,000 music therapy sessions per year in schools, day centres, hospitals and care homes across the UK and in our Centre and Units.


Montrose Properties

Established in 1981, and run by husband and wife team Rob and Jen Wildblood, Montrose Properties is a leading name in the letting and management of residential property in south Manchester. Serving tenants and landlords in all areas from Manchester city centre to Stockport - through Withington, Fallowfield, East and West Didsbury, Chorlton, Rusholme, Heaton Moor and Heaton Mersey - Montrose has built a reputation for total property management.


The agency, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this August, is based at the junction of Lapwing Lane and Clyde Road in West Didsbury.


Summer Newsletter


The Government are producing regulations to change the rules for Energy Performance Certificates. The changes are not vast but will clarify and extend some of the requirements. There is concern that non compliance may be due to a lack of clarity, when in reality it is probably more down to apathy!


Firstly the regulations will create a new look EPC. The main EPC will become a two page document. They will be registered on a central website much as before. However, reports on air conditioning systems will have to be lodged as well.


Probably the biggest shake up of EPCs are around the commissioning of the EPC. The current legislation varies between sales and rentals. In both cases the EPC must be available at the first of the following list of events:


  • The point the contract is entered into.
  • A viewing of the property.
  • Giving written particulars


Obviously it will be fairly rare to achieve a letting or sale without a viewing or giving written particulars but it can happen.

The revised wording will require the EPC to be produced at the earliest opportunity but definitely before a viewing or providing written particulars.


The original EPC for the sales market was part of the Home Information Pack. When HIPs were abolished, this would have left the sales market without any legal requirement to provide an EPC. This problem was addressed by adding in a new regulation 5A into the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007. This section starts with the observation that the section applieswhen a “residential property is to be sold”.


The regulation then goes on to allow for marketing without physically having an EPC for a period of up to 28 days. This period of 28 days will be reduced to just 7 days under the new regulations.


This may have some relevance in sales but in many situations in letting the first viewing could easily have taken place. Some property could even have been let within that 7 day period.

Currently written particulars need to have the asset rating attached (the coloured bar chart, if there are two out of photos, floors plans and room dimensions).


This obligation to attach the asset rating is being withdrawn and it is being replaced with the requirement to provide the complete two pages of the first part of the revised EPC instead. Since this could apply to advertising as well, it will be interesting to see how the advertising market adapts to deal with this change.


There are a couple of technical changes around enforcement but subject to the regulations being passed, most of the provisions will start from the 1 July 2011. The requirements in respect of written particulars starts 1 Oct 2011.




There have been several important court judgements on the issues of tenancy deposits in recent months. In the Universal Estates case the court was asked to consider if it mattered with an insured scheme if the deposit was protected later than the 14 days in the Housing Act 2004.


They decided that as long as the deposit was protected before the court hearing, the penalty could not be awarded.


This was followed shortly by the judgement in Potts v Densley where the High Court had to consider if a deposit could be protected after the tenancy had ended. They decided, following the Universal Estates case, that as long as it was protected before the court hearing, there was no penalty.


Barely was the ink dry on this decision when the case of Gladehurst v Hashemi hit the Court of Appeal. This case essentially looked at the same issue of the situation that exists after the tenancy had ended.


In this case the Court of Appeal decided that the tenant was not allowed to take court action for recovery of the deposit after the tenancy had ended.


Their decision is a serious blow to tenants and significantly reduces their protection. This may trigger a legislative change to replace the protection in this situation.

Montrose Properties covering the following areas in South Manchester: Didsbury, Withington, Fallowfield, Chorlton, Rusholme, Manchester City Centre, Heaton Moor, Heaton Mersey and Stockport. We have been established since 1981 and pride ourselves on an enviable reputation for our service both to tenants and landlords. Our office is conveniently located in West Didsbury, Manchester, UK with ample parking and on the corner of Clyde Road – one of the most popular addresses in Didsbury!