Property crowdfunding is new to some and familiar to others, but wherever you’re starting from its good to know how it all works. Here are our frequently asked questions, with our 5 most popular question at the top.
You buy a share in a house alongside other people, the share entitles the buyer to receive rent money paid by tenants living in the property. Your shares value is determined by the price of the property.
UOWN organises a chartered surveyor to value the properties every three months, the prices are then updated and reflected on our platform, meaning that shares you bought in the past may change in value.
We charge an initial 2% transaction fee on the amount invested. We also charge an annual 0.5% fee on the value of a property. This comes out of any money made from renting it. This fee covers the on-going admin costs of property valuations filing annual tax returns and keeping UOWN awesome. For Easy Exit properties there is an Easy Exit fee of 3% of the value of your shares to sell your shares. The properties are managed by third party letting agents and they charge a fee of 10% plus VAT of the rent collected.
You can read more about our fees in our in-depth article.
For Easy Exit properties there is an Easy Exit fee of 3% of the value of your shares to sell your shares.
Initially we will need you to fill out a few personal details. (name, email, address etc) When you are ready to make an investment you will be required to go through our Know Your Customer (KYC) procedure this is to ensure that you understand the investment and the risks involved. If you invest above a certain amount we will also be required to keep a record of your ID, passport or driving license.
You can withdraw your money paid in rent instantly at anytime. We have two types of properties on the site. For Resale properties you can sell your shares on the UOWN platform at anytime after the funding period. Click sell and we will list your shares for sale on the UOWN platform where other investors can buy them. There is no guaranteed time period for this process but we will aim to sell your shares within 3 weeks. There is also no guarantee that we will be able to find a buyer for your shares.
For properties marked Easy Exit we guarantee to buy your shares back from you at any time for a fee of 3% of the value of your shares.
UOWN is about lots of people with small amounts of money, all clubbing together to fund something bigger. In this case, that’s properties. Until recently, property investment was only available to a small number of people with lots of money. Each active member of the UOWN community (a UOWNer) owns shares in one or more properties, alongside other uOwners.
Instead of selling individual bricks (which can get a bit cumbersome) we use something called a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). An SPV is a limited company that you buy shares in. Each property we offer is put into its own SPV so lots of people can buy shares in it and become shareholders. This is because normally a house can only have four names on the deed title. That’s no good when there are hundreds of UOWNers who come and go (imagine the paperwork...).
UOWN is open to UK residents aged 18 or over. We have reciprocal authorisation arrangements in place for some EU countries. If you are resident in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland or the Netherlands then you will be able to invest in the same way as if you were resident in the UK.
For other countries, we would be more than happy to enter into separate discussions as to whether we can accommodate your investment. It will be dependent on your particular circumstances and the regulatory framework in your country of residence. Please contact the team if this interests you.
Please note that due to local laws and/or reporting requirements we are unable to accept investment from Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Africa or the United States of America.
We hand over the day-to-day management of properties to the people who do it best: experienced letting agents. They’re responsible for finding tenants, collecting rent and dealing with the day-to-day issues that come with owning a property. So you needn’t worry about us calling you late at night to fix a leaky pipe.
At the moment it’s carefully chosen properties in the UK, mainly the north of England (we love the North). Ones that we believe have the best potential to benefit investors and residents alike. In future we might expand beyond the UK, and offer investments in all sorts of exciting stuff. Let’s do a sterling job with UK property first, though.
When we find a property for sale that makes the grade, we launch it on UOWN as a new investment opportunity. We give it a funding period and target, then it’s over to (you) the UOWNers to decide whether or not to back it. When enough of you choose to fund one, we buy it on your behalf, and soon everyone enjoys the benefits of owning property. By the way - while all this happens, your money is set aside in a separate, secure client account to fund the purchase. If not enough people decide to back it, everyone gets their money back.
You can invest as little as £20 and there’s no maximum amount.
Yes. UOWN is an alternative way to grow your money, and we expect most people will want to set a little aside every month to pay into UOWN by direct debit.
When your money comes through we’ll check how you want to spread it across the different properties in UOWN. Soon, you’ll be able to do this automatically depending on your preferences and appetite for risk. Until the robots are ready though, we’ll do things the old-fashioned way. Well, not that old-fashioned - online crowdfunding wasn’t around in your Grandma’s day.
There’s nothing wrong with that. Like us, you’re only human. After you invest your money, there’s a 14 day cooling-off period when you can cancel it. No strings attached. Once contracts are exchanged between us and the seller of a property we’re buying (on behalf of you, the uOwners), the cooling-off period doesn’t apply - because the sale is legally binding. It isn’t the end of the world though. You can always sell your shares in a property to other uOwners if you want out.
When you invest in a property, your money goes into that property’s stand-alone SPV (see our explanation of what shares are). This means it’s ring-fenced from the rest of our business. So if UOWN ever gets into trouble (don’t worry - we’ve no plans to), a different organisation could step in and look after your investments. Any money held in your account but not invested is protected by our payment provider MangoPay. They’re a wholesome bunch, regulated and authorised to hold your money. Please note that your investment is not protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Tenants. These are people paying rent to live in the properties you invest in.
Every property has running costs, like management fees, repairs and tax. We subtract those from the total amount of rent collected (gross rent) from the tenants in a property. What you’re left with is the rental income (net rent) which is shared between investors in that property. So: gross rent - (fees + tax etc) = net rent. Net rent goes to everyone who invests in that property. We work all this out and show you before you decide whether a property’s for you (nor not).
Put simply, it’s income you make from rent. It measures the amount of net rent as a percentage of the value of the property. So if you invest £100 and the expected rental yield is 10%, that means you’ll make £10 from rent every year.
Rent comes in monthly from each property, and we share that proportionately between uOwners who have shares in that property. Rent is rounded down to the nearest whole penny. We pay rent, net (minus any fees) and one month in arrears. This means any money made from rent collected in January is paid in February and so on. Why? Because it helps us run things more smoothly. It also gives our property management partners a little flexibility if tenants pay their rent late (after all, they’re only human too).
We calculate rent income by the day (pro-rata). So if you buy or sell shares in a property in the middle of the month you’ll still earn money for the days you owned a share in a property (but not the ones you didn’t, which is only fair).
This depends on your tax arrangements. Let’s save that fascinating chat for another day - in the meantime you should get advice from a qualified accountant if you’re not sure.
This is based on a real-world valuation of bricks and all, plus the costs involved in buying it. Our valuations are done by qualified, independent chartered surveyors.
We re-value properties every quarter. So an unsung army of chartered surveyors go out and value each one four times a year, or once every three months.
The costs of buying a property are spread gradually over a five year period. When we calculate how much each share in that property is worth we include them in our calculation. Property bods call this ‘amortization’. It’s a standard way to spread buying costs fairly amongst people who invest at different stages over a five year lifecycle of the property.
Like any gains you make from rent, this depends on your tax arrangements. Hit your speed-dial again to HMRC or a qualified accountant.
You can sell your shares whenever you like. When you do, those shares are sold at the current share price value. We work that out for you using the latest value of the property, plus any costs and taxes. We re-list your shares for you on UOWN and actively promote them to other users. We aim to sell them within three weeks and prioritise shares that were listed for sale earliest. We don’t charge you to sell your shares. And when we find you a buyer we tell you straight away and transfer the money to your account. Certain properties might be marked as Easy Exit and the selling process for these properties is explained below.
With an Easy Exit property we guarantee to buy your shares from you, usually within three days, but within a maximum of two weeks. For this service we take a fee when you sell your shares. This fee is 3% of the value of the shares you are selling.
There’s a 2% fee on every share bought through UOWN. Buyers pay the fees, not sellers, and they’re added to the cost of buying a share in a property. For Resale properties there are no fees to sell. For Easy Exit properties you will be charged a fee of 3% of the value of your shares to sell.
There’s an annual 0.5% fee on the value of a property. This comes out of any money made from renting it. This fee covers the on-going admin costs of keeping UOWN awesome, property valuations and other exciting jobs like filing annual tax returns.
This is shared fairly amongst the people who own shares in that property. The properties are managed by third party management agents who charge 10% + VAT fee on rental payments. This means that you don’t have to worry about the day-to-day hassle of being a landlord. The management fees, as well as the other costs, and tax are taken out of the rent before the net rent figure is calculated.
There are no extra fees for any payment methods - debit cards, bank transfers, direct debits and withdrawals are all free of charge.
Tax law is complicated (deliberately, we think). So any rates and rules we describe here will probably change. We’re not qualified to give tax advice, so beware: this is all just friendly advice. If you’re stuck you should speak to a qualified accountant or tax advisor. To keep things simple, we take care of the taxes involved in buying or selling a property.
Yes. As often as you like if you’re into that sort of thing. You can get your tax statements in the ‘Accounts’ section of UOWN. These can help if you fill in your own tax return, and they give you a summary of the dividends you’ve received and any capital gains over a specific period.
We accept payments by debit card, bank transfer (BACS and CHAPS, for example), and direct debits for recurring monthly payments. You can use any of these methods to top-up your account with funds. Payments by debit cards, bank transfers and direct debit are free. Withdrawals made to UK bank accounts are free.
Payments to and from UOWN will appear on your bank statement as ‘MangoPay’ - the payment gateway service we use. Fairly inconspicuous we think, unless your partner suspects you of being in a tropical fruit cartel.
You can do this any time under the account section when you log in. If you have any problems with payments, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re an appointed representative of Share In Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 603332).
Our regulators ask us to check this when you first sign up. That’s what the little quiz is all about when you sign-up. You’re self-certifying whether you’re a regular, high net worth (HNW) or sophisticated investor.
We carry out ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC) checks to make sure you’re a real person. If you invest over £2000 or want to withdraw £1000 we carry out a more detailed check. This means you’ll have to upload an identity document like a UK driving license, passport, or European identity card (front and back, photos/scans are OK). Once you’ve done this check you get the green light to invest or withdraw as much as you want. Knock yourself out.
If we drop the ball or tread on something unpleasant, please tell us so we can put things right. Email your complaints (or congratulations) to email@example.com or call 0203 504 5678. We'll be in touch with you as soon as we can and let you know what will happen next. We'll try to resolve your complaint within 3 working days of receipt – if we’re unable to do this we will write to you acknowledging that we have received your complaint and the next steps that will be taken. For more complex issues it's likely that we will need longer to look into what's happened and we may ask you for further information to help us reach an outcome. We'll give you regular updates. And once we've dealt with your complaint, we'll go back and see what we can learn from your experience to improve our service.
If things aren’t fixed within 8 weeks you have the right to ask the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to review your complaint. The FOS gives free, impartial advice and you can contact them at any stage during your complaint without affecting your legal rights. The Financial Ombudsman Service South Quay Plaza 183 Marsh Wall London E14 9SR. Their phone numbers are +44 (0)300 123 9123 or +44 (0)800 023 4567. Or you can send them an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you try to invest over £1200 we have to perform a detailed check. You will have to upload an identity document: UK driving license, Passport, or European I.D. card front and back (Photos or Scans are acceptable). Once you have completed this check you will be free to invest or withdraw as much as you want on the platform.
The Data Protection Act protects your personal data and we will never use it for anything you haven’t given us permission for. Promise. We’ve secured our website and your data using industry best practice, and your browser connection to uOwn is always encrypted, which prevents interception. Our team of experts made sure we’re well defended against attackers, plus we’ve been independently tested by leading security consultants NCC Group. MangoPay (who handle transactions like money transfers and card payments on UOWN) take similar sensible steps to keep your precious data as safe as houses.
“Best execution” rules, which exist to make certain types of costs andprocesses more transparent to investors, will not apply to your investments on our platform, and we need to explain why that is. When you apply to purchase a bond or share on our investment platform, your application will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Once an investment offer is closed, investments are issued directly by the company to the investor. These investments are not traded on a market of any kind.
So what does this have to do with “best execution” rules?
“Bestexecution” means achieving the best possible result for customers when carryingout their orders via an execution venue. An“execution venue” refers to a facility that brings multiple parties together forbuying and selling. This could be a regulated market, a multi-lateral trading facility (MTF), organised trading facility (OTF) or other entities that performthis role.
Because your transaction on our crowdfunding platform will not be carried out by an intermediary, third party or execution venue as defined above, nor do we provide a facility allowing you to resell your investment through an MTF, best execution rules do not apply.