Author Archives: Apple

Burglary

What is cryptojacking?

Category : News , Security

Cryptojacking is a form of cyber attack by unauthorized use of your computing device to mine cryptocurrency. This could be initiated by opening an attachment from an email or clicking on a link, the most common form of malware delivery.

However, if you surf the web and a webpage has been compromised then cryptojacking doesn’t need a programme to be installed. (JavaScript runs on just about every website you visit. So when you load a webpage, the in-browser mining code just runs. No need to install.)

The simplest way to protect yourself from cryptojacking is to install a cryptojacking blocker. Installing a cryptojacking blocker means adding a browser extension so that it blocks a list of domains associated with the cryptojacking code. This tool can block all web-based cryptocurrency miners irrespective of their source. It detects potential mining behavior inside loaded scripts and kills it immediately.

If your device is compromised, you may or may not experience a slowing of the PC or Laptop. If it is a mobile device compromised, then the battery life may be effected.


Plugs and cables

Portable Appliance Testing

Category : Security

Portable Appliance Testing also refer as PAT Testing. It is the term used to describe the process by which electrical appliances and equipment are routinely checked for safety. The purpose is to prevent electrical accidents in the workplace. A full PAT test should include visual inspection and a more in-depth check using specialist PAT testing equipment. PAT testing is not required by law. The Law does require that employers must ensure that all electrical equipment they provide in their business is safe and properly maintained.

There is no legal obligation (at the moment) for private landlords to carry out PAT testing on electrical appliances in their properties. However, as a landlord, your duty is to ensure the safety of the electrical appliance in your property.The regulations are different for HMO landlords. In this case, annual PAT tests are compulsory for all electrical appliances.

You do not need a qualified electrician to carry out your PAT Testing. But you need a competent person who understands how to carry out a full visual inspection and PAT Test.

Electrical classes in PAT testing

Electrical appliances are mainly categorised as Class 1, 2 or 3, with Class 1 being the most dangerous and Class 3 the least dangerous.

The class of an appliance helps determine whether it needs to be PAT tested and to what degree. Class 1 appliances need a full PAT test, Class 2 appliances need a PAT insulation test, and there is no need to PAT test Class 3 appliances.

Class 1 appliances
This type of electrical equipment has only basic insulation and relies on an earth for protection.

Examples of Class 1 equipment are kettles, toasters, irons, microwaves, electric heaters, fridges, freezers, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, vending machines, photocopiers, floor standing printers, industrial machinery, Desktop computers,  laptop cables, mobile phone chargers, extension lead etc.

Class 2 appliances
Class 2 products are commonly known as ‘double insulated’. This type of electrical equipment has extra insulation and so doesn’t rely on an earth for protection, which makes it safer.

Example of Class 2 appliances are Deskstop printer, hedge trimmers, lawnmovers, drills, food mixers, lamps, television, dvd players, cd players, hair dryers, hair straigthener etc.

Class 3 appliances
Class 3 appliances are low voltage items and are the safest class of electrical appliance. Their charging leads may need to be PAT tested.

Example of Class 3 appliances are laptops, torches, cameras etc.

TwoLet Properties is a forward company, and we are always looking for ways to do better and expand our knowledge base in the property market. Recently, one of the Director Ronna Fu studied and passed the PAT Testing Fudamental Online course. She did the course to increase her knowledge in all aspects of property maintenance and provide better service to their clients.

Need someone to do PAT testing on your property? Fill out the form here for more information. We will get in touch with you to assist you with your questions.


cyber-crime

Cyber Crime Alert

Category : News , Security

Cyber crime is a general term for computer-oriented crime which take place online or where technology is a means and/or target for the attack.

We may think that the only form of cybercrime we worry about is hackers stealing our financial information through the internet. The UK regional cyber crime unit have seen an increased of other form of cyber crime beside computer-oriented crime. For example, in the past few days, criminals have been using an automated telephone messaging service within the UK, claiming they are from the South West Regional Cyber Crime Unit. The person listening to the message are told that their internet connection had been compromised and that it would be shut down within 24 hours. The message then invites the person listening to press 1 on their keypad to speak with the technical department. Do not do this!

Although the UK is covered by both regional and local cyber crime units, this is the first time the unit have known the criminal purport to be from a legitimate UK Police department. This is a total fraud and no one should react to the message by pressing a key other than to disconnect the call.

Any similar reports to Action Fraud please.


Weed Dandelion

Homemade Weed Killers

Category : DIY , Environment , Project

Some homemade weed killers have been used for centuries and claimed to be very effective.  They may not be as effective as a commercial weed killer but they work in some degree. You may not be able to get rid of the weeds totally and they may grow back after a period of time.  In some ways I prefer trying some of the eco-friendly concoction. They are safer to use and less harmful to your health and environment than using commercial chemicals.

Below is a list of six of the homemade weed killers you should try:

1. Vinegar
2. Salt
3. Boiling hot water
4. Bleach
5. Newspaper or cardboard
6. Salt, vinegar & dish soap

They are more effective when you manually remove all weeds before applying any of the homemade weed killers. If you try any of the suggestions above please let us know and share your experience or your own weed killer concoction.

Happy experimenting!


rental-property-market

Rental Property Market

Category : News , Tenancy

So far in 2018 we have seen little movement in the rental property market compared to 2017. Could it be the continuing uncertainty of Brexit and rising interest rates that put the brakes on the property market?

National Statistics

Rents in the private rented sector have risen by 1.6 per cent in the year to August. The areas that have seen the greatest rise of 2.8 per cent have been in the East Midlands, including Birmingham, Nottingham and Derby.

London Statistics

In central London, despite the shortage of supply in relation to demand, rents have fallen by around three per cent in the past 12 months which mirrors the similar fall in property values. Source: National Statistics (ONS) rents

As expected there are always factors that play a big part with the rentals market, both political and economic.

We’ve compiled some of the leading experts from across the property sector explain their predictions for the UK property market for the rest of 2018.

– Knight Frank predicts that rental values in the UK will rise by 1.2 per cent in 2018 but fall by 0.7 per cent in London with outer London seeing higher falls than central London. “Rental value declines are bottoming out as the rate of new supply slows down,” says Tom Bill, Head of London Residential Research at Knight Frank.

– ARLA Propertymark (formerly the Association of Residential Letting Agents) believe 59 per cent of lettings agents say that they expect rents to rise in 2018 compared with just 19 per cent who expect them to fall.

– Savills expect the number of mortgaged investment purchases to fall by 27 per cent in the next five years and to be 10,000 in real terms in 2018.

– Savills has also forecasted that rents will grow faster than house sale prices in London for the first time since 2011 and that over the next five years they will rise by a further 17 per cent.

– Real estate firm JLL is predicting rental growth of two per cent per annum in both 2018 and 2019. Experts also believe that, because of high prices in the sales market, the rental market will continue to expand and prove more robust than expected over the next five years.

– Strutt & Parker is predicting that, in prime central London, lettings price growth will outperform sales over the course of the year. “The proportion of households in the rental sector is growing, and our research shows an increasing preference for long-term letting,” says Kate Eales, Head of National Lettings at Strutt & Parker.

– A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has revealed that, following policy changes such as increases in stamp duty, more landlords are expected to leave than join the market in 2018. RICS members now realise that rents are likely to rise by three per cent a year for the next five years, outstripping rises in house prices.

– Buy-to-let specialists Landbay, CEO John Goodall predicts that “rents in the areas outside London will rise as we head into 2018, particularly across the eastern region of the UK”, and that there will also be “greater tenant interest in the London commuter counties,” with the capital becoming increasingly unaffordable.

– The lettings fees ban – announced by the government in 2016 – could come into effect in 2018 but it has been criticised by commentators who say the ban could lead to increased rents for tenants of up to £255 per year. However, others disagree and housing charity Shelter has welcomed the step.

There now seems to be an assumption that rises in rents during 2018 are likely to exceed rises in house sale prices. This is better news for landlords than tenants, particularly at a time of rising inflation. But the rises are not predicted to be substantial, and in the current market, not all landlords are going to raise their rents, particularly if they have reliable tenants.

Content provided by 1st Choice Marketing (www.1stchoicemarketing.co.uk) for information purposes only. Independent and professional advice should be taken before buying, selling, letting or renting property, or buying financial products.


Burglary

Incident Summary

Category : Security

The overwhelming number of burglars are unskilled people who go through open or unlocked windows and doors.  This week 2 of 5 burglaries in the city were via open and/or unlocked windows or doors. Open windows and doors represent an easy target for opportunist thieves. But home security expert says homes could still be vulnerable due to bad locks. Don’t make it easy for them – remember to keep your home secure.

A builder posted the video of him using a simple butter knife to open a door by jamming it into the slender gap by the handle and jamming open the bolt. This shocking footage shows just how easy it could be for burglars to break into your home.

Call the police on 101 if you have been a victim or a witness of such crimes. You can also make a report on www.contactcambspolice.uk/Report/. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.


housemates

Quick HMO Lesson

Category : News , Tenancy

In short, the definition of a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) is three or more tenants in two or more households. Take for example, if three student nurses share a flat – that will be a HMO. Unless they are sisters. Although if two of the three are sisters and the other is a friend that will be classified as HMO. As there will be two ‘households’ and the friend is not a blood relative.

The definition of a Licensable HMO is currently:

  • Five or more tenants
  • In two or more households
  • In a property with three or more stories

If there are five student nurses sharing – they are unlikely from one family. If the property is a three storey building, it would be a licensable HMO. If it is a two storey building or less it would not be (Unless the Local Authority has an additional licensing scheme).

After 1 October 2018, the three storey requirement will not be applicable. A HMO would be based on the people living in the property. Any property with five or more tenants will be a licensable HMO. Even if it is a bungalow. That mean on 1 October, 2018, if you have any properties with five persons forming two or more households, you will be in breach and possibly face prosecution or a Local Authority penalty charge of up to £30,000. Beside that your tenants could claim First Tier Tribunal for a rent repayment order for up to 12 months rent. Read more about First Tier Tribunal on gov.uk website.

Other Possible problems

How do you know that your properties are not HMOs? Have you checked the number of people living there? What if someone had recently moved in and not told you? What if your family of four people had rented a room to someone, for example if they had taken in a lodger to make ends meet since your last inspection? What if the tenants had moved in the extra person without my consent? That would make it into an HMO.  However, the tenant’s breach of contract would justify you taking action to evict them if they failed to regularise the situation.

You need to keep tabs on what is happening at your property and possibly do inspection every three months. Some landlords don’t visit their properties once they’re let, either because they don’t want to disturb the new tenants or because they can’t be bothered, but you really should try to swing by once every few months. So you can take action if new occupiers move in without your consent. And potentially avoid a situation where you suddenly find the Council on your case because you don’t have a HMO license – when you thought you didn’t need one.

Your Responsibilities

These are mandatory conditions which license holder must adhere to:

  • An annual gas safety certificate
  • Electrical appliances and furniture supplied by the landlord in a safe condition and to supply declarations of their safety to the local council on demand
  • Install smoke alarms and keep them in proper working order and to supply to the local council, on demand, a declaration of their positioning and condition
  • give the tenants a statement of the terms on which they occupy the HMO.

TwoLet Property Management Ltd is a rental management company, managing and letting properties within various locations in Peterborough and surrounding areas. We’d love to serve you!


industrial-lubricant

WD-40 Multi Use Can

Category : DIY , Project

WD-40Most people would think of WD-40 as an industrial lubricant used by handymen and machinists for silencing squeaks, preventing rust, and loosening stuck parts. Beside those uses mentioned they have dozens of other uses that sure surprise many! Once you know how much they can do for you, you will never want to go without it! Here are a few uses I discovered and came across.

    1. Polishing silver. Spray WD-40 on your tarnish silver. Wipe it off with a clean cloth. It is that easy to keep your silver looking sparkly and new.
    2. Cleaning trainers. You can remove stubborn rock salt spots. Spray WD-40 over those spots and wipe them down. You can spray your entire shoes with WD-40 to make them waterproof.
    3. Clean tiles. You can remove spilled mascara, nail polish, paint and scuff marks from tile floors, and also help you wipe away grime from the grout lines. Clean up access WD-40 on your tiles with soapy water.
    4. Keep bugs away. Spray WD-40 on window sills, etc. to keep spiders and other bugs out. I guess is the smell they didn’t like.
    5. Protecting bird feeders. Rats and squirrels are notorious for stealing seeds from bird feeders. Spray down the pole with WD-40 and those critters will slide down the pole like running water.
    6.  Soften leathers. Oil can help break in stiff leather.
    7.  Cleaning toilets. Use WD-40 the same way you would use your toilet cleaner. It will help dissolve the gunk and lime. You will notice that it gets clean quickly and stay clean longer.
    8.  Removing crayons. Spray WD-40 on crayon where it shouldn’t be and wipe it off.
    9.  Remove rust. Spray and rub away rust from circular saw and hacksaw blades.
    10. Unsticking gum. Nothing can remove those horrible hard chewed-up gum from floor and shoes like WD-40. A squirt of WD-40 makes it easier to peel gum out of carpet and even on hair.
    11. Removing gooey residue. Removing residue from price tags, stickers, and duct tapes. Coat item with a generous amount of WD-40 and gently peel off stickers.
    12. Defrosting ice. This is handy during winter. Spray your car window down with WD-40 and wipe excess away. This keep ice from sticking on your windows. Hopefully spending much less time in the cold scrapping the ice off your windows!
    13. Lubricate a shovel. Spray WD-40 on a shovel, spading fork, hoe or garden trowel. The soil will slide right off—especially helpful when digging in clay.
    14. Removing water stains. Spray a spritz of WD-40 on the shower glass panels and you will see the water stains disappear.
    15.  Removing stains from stainless steel sinks. Spray WD-40 on the stains in the sink and wipe off with kitchen towel. Wash down sink with warm soapy water to remove smell and grease.
    16. Polishing scissors. Polish scissors with WD-40 regularly to keep them from getting sticky.
    17. Unsticking zipper. Spray WD-40 on stuck zippers and gently work them back and forth. They will eventually slide back into place.
    18. Removing tea and coffee stains. Squirt WD-40 on stains on your wooden surface table and you will see it banish away in no time.
    19. Removing tar stains. Save you pennies. Do it yourself instead of the body work garage. This work even on most stubborn tar stains. Spray generously on tar and it should melt away like butter!
    20. Removing ring off your finger. Ever had a ring stuck on your finger. It happens to most people at some point of their life. Try this first before chopping your finger off! Spray a generous amount of WD-40 on your finger. This work like magic. The ring will slide off your finger.
    21. Removing lipstick on clothing. Use WD-40 as a pre-wash stain treatment. Spray on the lipstick stain and put your item of clothing in the wash as normal.
    22. Extending the life span of shower head. Shower head does break down over time. By applying WD-40 you can extend the life span by years.
    23. Remove mildew from refrigerator gaskets. Gunk build up on refrigerator gasket over a period of time. They look pretty disgusting and unhygienic. Well, WD-40 will do wonder for you here. Simply spray WD-40 on those gunk and leave for a few minutes. Wipe off with kitchen towel and you are done. You may want to clean down with warm soapy water after that to give the overall refrigerator a good clean.
    24. Filter dust in air conditioner. Spray a thin layer of WD-40 on the air-con filer before installing, and you will notice the filter is so much more effective. When you change your filter you will notice that it has so much more dust than usual.
    25. Removes splattered grease on stove. Not only it removes splattered grease from your oven, it also polishes the entire oven.
    26. Clean musical instruments. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings and ski equipment.
    27. Floor polish. Spray on floor and it will give your floors a waxed sheen without making slippery.
    28. Keeps flies off cows and horses. This is an interesting hack for farmers depending if your animals actually bother with those small irritating flies. Spray on your animals and it will keep those flies away. Caution: Do put around eyes!
    29. Restore and clean chalkboards. We don’t see many chalkboards around these days. If you have one that needs a real clean, here is what you can do. Spray on chalkboard and wipe the access off with a clean cloth.
    30. Clean and polish BBQ grill. This hack is for outdoor BBQ grill. Be sure to burn it off before cooking.
    31. Keep bathroom mirror from fogging. Steamed bathroom mirror is quite hard to avoid especially after a hot bath or shower. Spray a thin layer of WD-40 on mirror to prevent it from steaming up.

If you have tried any of the hacks above, please let is know how you get on and share your experience.

For your info, the main ingredients in WD-40 are:

  • 50% aliphatic hydrocarbons.
  • <25% petroleum base oil.
  • 12–18% low vapour pressure aliphatic hydrocarbon.
  • 2–3% carbon dioxide.
  • <10% inert ingredients.

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided here make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.


Residential Property Management

Right To Rent

Category : News , Tenancy

The ‘Right to Rent’ legislation, first introduced in February 2016. Failure to comply with this Act can result into a civil penalty of up to £3000. That’s why it is important to take extra steps to validate identity documents and evidence of your tenant’s correct immigration status.

The ‘Right to Rent’ checks should be made by landlords, agents or householders who are letting private rented accommodation, or taking in a lodger. Anyone who lives in a property as a tenant or occupier, and sub-lets all or part of the property, or takes in a lodger, should also make a check on their immigration status and that of anyone aged 18 or over. Housing illegal immigrants allows them to establish a settled life in the UK and frustrate the necessary procedures for them returning to their home country. It impacts a significant cost to the public funds and also reduces the amount of housing stock available to British citizens and others residing here legally.

At TwoLet we are able to help you with the process. We can do Tenant Eligibility check and enhanced Tenant Authenticate check for you to ensure all obligations under The Immigration Act 2014 are met.

Guidance for landlords, homeowners and letting agents, can be found here: www.gov.uk


bedroom-to-let

Beware of Rental Fraud

Category : News , Tenancy

Rental fraud happens when prospective tenants are tricked into paying an upfront fee to rent a property which is either does not exits, has already been rented out, or has been rented to multiple victims at the same time. The most common cases of rental fraud concern ‘phantom flats’. ‘Phantom flats’ are cheap properties advertised in prime locations that either never exist or are owned by someone else.  As a result, victims will lose the upfront fee they have paid and never get to rent the property they thought they had secured.

Between April 2014 and March 2018, there were 18,645 reports relating to rental fraud. These reports total £22 million, an average of £1,396 per victim. These figures were taken from ActionFraud. ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre.

Hopefully, this short article will give you some insights on how to spot the signs of rental fraud when searching for a property to rent.

The fraudsters will often make contact with their victims online. These adverts may seem genuine and are often accompanied by photos and contact information. Sometimes these fraudsters use reputable property renting site like Rightmove to convince their victims to hand over money straight into the bank account of the ‘landlord’ before a viewing. Rightmove or other similar sites will never ask you to directly transfer money to landlord. In some cases, the victim will view the property in person, but in most cases the payment is made without prior viewing. Very often these fraudsters take advantage of victims who are desperate of finding accommodation due to fierce competition. They often prey on college and university students ahead of the new term, taking advantage of the huge demand of vulnerable students who are anxious to secure accommodation for the academic year and are willing to pay fees up front.

How to protect yourself from rental fraud

Trust your gut instinct – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a landlord is asking for a deposit to be transferred before you have even seen the property, you should be skeptical of it. Never pay for a deposit in cash.

Visit the property before you pay – Watch-out for advertisements with no photos or the same photos used in multiple advertisements as they could be fabricated. Do not pay any upfront money until you have visited the property with an agent or the landlord. Also be aware that in some cases, tenants even visit the property in person and are shown around by someone claiming to be the landlord.

Check the landlord’s ID. You should also check the veracity of any safety certificates in particular gas and electric. Never be afraid to ask for such documents. The landlord is legally obliged to present such certificates when asked.

Be cautious about how you send money – The safest way to make a payment is by a credit card in person at the letting agent’s office. Be suspicious if you’re asked to transfer money via a money transfer service like Western Union or paying cash upfront.

Don’t be pressured into transferring large sums of money – Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or another trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot. This could be a sign of a desperate fraudster planning to run away with your hard earned cash.

Check owner of the property – Use the Land Registry to check if the landlord is the legal owner of the property.

Check that the owner is on an approved accommodation list – You can normally do this by checking with your student union or accommodation office as many universities and colleges will have an approved housing list. Also check if the landlord is a member of a national recognised body such as National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) or Residential Landlord Association (RLA).

Every Report Matters – If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber-crime, please report to the police or Action Fraud online by calling 0300 123 2040.

Need help to look for an accommodation in Peterborough? Why not pick up the phone and give TwoLet Properties Management Ltd a call. We are letting agent registered with RLA, ICO and Property Redress Scheme and, your deposit is protected by Deposit Protection Scheme (DPS). DPS is a UK Government authorised tenancy deposit scheme.