Category Archives: News

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.


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.


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.


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!


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.

 


matches

Fire Safety Awareness

Category : News , Security

Recently the two directors of TwoLet Properties Management attended the Fire Safety Business seminar at the Fire Station in Standground, Peterborough. “We like to keep ourselves up-to-date on all regulations and legislations relating to buildings and properties. We found the fire safety training very informative and we were able to apply the knowledge we gained that day”, said Ronna. The course raises awareness of the dangers associated with fire and the practical steps that can be taken to minimise and control the risks that fire presents.

Knowledge on fire safety is very important, as failure to comply with government fire safety regulations could potentially lead to prosecution, fines or legal claims. Fire safety training is therefore compulsory for all organisations.

The seminar covers a wide range of subjects. This include:

  • Explanation of the Fire Safety Order
  • Threat of fire in a workplace and behaviour of fire
  • Applicable legislation
  • Risk assessment
  • Fire prevention and awareness
  • How to minimise the effect of fire
  • The importance of fire doors
  • Signage and fire exits
  • Key responsibilities of the individual

The training equips the directors with a better understanding of their responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (FSO) and learning the process of conducting a fire risk assessment in a commercial building.

business_seminar_certificate


people-hmo

Multiple Occupation

Category : News , Tenancy

HMO or House of Multiple Occupation is a term used to define accommodation that is owned by a private landlord and shared by at least three people who are not from the same household (eg. a family).

On 1st October, the Government is extending the possibility of licensing for HMOs. The licence applies to all HMOs that are occupied by five or more people from two or more households, regardless of the number of storeys. The licence does not include flats in purpose built blocks of more than two storeys.

In addition to the compulsory licensing, the Government has also proposed a minimum room size for bedrooms. The room size with a floor area of less than 4.64 square meters must not be used as sleeping accommodation.

You can find more information on HMO from gov.uk website.

Are you seeking to grow your HMO portfolios or looking for an agent to manage your properties? Ensure that you get an agent that will make you money rather than costing you money. Why not get in touch with TwoLet to discuss your needs? We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have.


light-bulb

Energy Performance

Category : News , Tenancy

From Sunday 1st April 2018, the new minimum energy efficiency standards were introduced for privately rented property (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. It is currently a legal requirement that all property that is marketed for sale or to let must have a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Are you up to date with your EPC?

Energy-Performance-RatingThese standards require landlords to achieve at least E rating on the EPC before granting on any new or existing tenancy agreement. This means that if your property rated as F or G, which is the lowest grades of energy efficiency, you cannot let or extend existing tenancies until the rating is improved. If you entre a new tenancy agreement without making the necessary improvement, you could be fined.

These standards require landlords to have an up to date EPC on all their properties. If any of the properties falls under F rating, they must make the required improvements now to bring them up to standard.

With many changes in the property market in recent months, landlords are expected to keep up to date with the new regulations. Recent increase in regulation make it more of a challenge for landlords to stay on top of their obligations.

Speak to us if you would like to know how we can help you to keep you up to keep you on top of the changes and how our service can be a value to you.


polling-station

Every Vote Counts!

Category : News

Elections are taking place in some parts of England today. Polling stations are now open from 7am and close at 10pm. In these elections, voters are choosing who represents them on their local council. Depending on where you live, your local council is responsible for all or some of the following areas:

  • Council housing
  • Education services
  • Electoral registration
  • Environmental health
  • Leisure and recreation facilities
  • Libraries
  • Local planning
  • Local transport
  • Parks and public places
  • Regulation of local business
  • Roads and footpaths
  • Social services
  • Waste and recycling