THE BLOG

26
Jan

How to deal with bad neighbours?

Many neighbour disputes end up in court because of poor communication. If something is happening that is dangerous or illegal, the police is the obvious answer. But if problems arise that are a bit more gray, communication is the best way to save money and hassle. Here is the best way to be a good neighbour and deal with a bad one.

  1. Get to know each other. Being a good neighbour does not mean taking family vacations together. Just knowing them well enough to say hi, or maybe borrowing a cup of sugar or loaning a gardening tool, can build trust and understanding. Issues are much more likely to escalate among strangers than even casual acquaintances.
  2. Head off problems before they are problems. If you are throwing a party at your place, go to all neighbours who might be affected and offer them two things: a verbal invitation to the party and a card with your phone number. If the noise escalates or there is another problem, your neighbour can call you instead of the police.
  3. Document the problem. When an issue comes up, start keeping notes – times, dates, and photos if necessary. This can help in three ways. First, it helps you evaluate the seriousness of the problem: Looking at it on paper, you may realize it is not as big a deal or you might see a solution. Second, you have info to back you up when you explain the situation to your neighbour. And finally, if push comes to shove, good record-keeping can show authorities you are serious and organized, not emotional and whiny.
  4. Talk it out. Tell your neighbour what is bothering you – do not assume they know what the problem is. Be open and direct, not passive-aggressive. Ask for their input, and wherever possible, propose a solution that splits the difference and demonstrates a willingness to compromise. Stay cool and positive, even if they are not.
  5. Check with other neighbours. See if anybody else on the block is having similar issues – they may be willing to help resolve it. If one of the neighbours is closer to the troublemaker, have them come with you when you talk it out.
  6. See if anyone else will side with you. If talking does not work, try getting more help. If you are part of a condo or homeowner’s association, speak with them about the problem and see if they can resolve it more easily and cheaply than you can.
  7. Talk to a lawyer. If you have tried everything, you can consult a lawyer and have them write a letter threatening legal action. Warning: This can not only cost a few hundred euros, but it may also throw gas on the fire. Make it a last resort.
  8. Get a mediator. A neutral third party experienced in settling disputes may succeed where you cannot, although it can only work if your neighbour is willing to talk. It is a lot cheaper than going to court, though – in some cases, it may even be free. Look up a nearby mediation program on the Internet.
  9. Write and report. If you suspect your neighbour is violating city ordinances, do a little research, write it up, and submit it to the proper authorities. You can look up municipal law, and you can learn all about code enforcement on your city’s website. If your neighbourly dispute involves code violations, the city might solve your problem for you. But do not try to anonymously report code violations on your neighbour. Not only does the neighbour usually figure out who “snitched” anyway, but they may resent you for being a passive-aggressive busybody, which can make future situations trickier. Remember you still have to live next to these people.
  10. Call the police. If you have acted in good faith with no success, involving the police is the next step. You can explain the situation and show how you have tried to work it out and kept notes, but realize they probably cannot do much unless a law or ordinance is being broken. This is for things like excessive noise and illegal activity, not a tree limb hanging into your yard. Nonetheless, a police presence might show your neighbour that you are not going to let the problem go.
  11. Take it to small claims court. This is much cheaper than a bigger lawsuit because you can represent yourself. But you must do your homework – you need to lay out the problem, provide evidence, and come up with a reasonable damage estimate that you can justify when questioned. Damages are usually capped at a few thousand dollars, although the amount varies by state. And do not be Judge Judy material: no exaggerations, no pettiness.

Bottom line? As with any relationship, being a good neighbour – or dealing with a bad one – is all about communication.

 

Source : Reader’s Digest

22
Jan

15 ways to add value and appeal to your rental properties

As investors it is important to keep your rental properties appealing to tenants. Here is a valuable list of improvements that you can make to your properties that will ensure they are not only more appealing to prospective tenants, but also in many instances increase their value and your rental income.

 
1. Have the inside professionally cleaned. Getting those marks off the walls, and out of the carpet, really improves the property. It needs to smell good too, but if it smells of air freshener, people will wonder why. Remove the source of any bad smell.

2. Paint the walls, ceiling, skirting boards, etc. if they are looking tatty. Put up new wallpaper if it is peeling or torn.

3. Update window coverings, particularly in living areas. Try toning them with the wall colour, and make curtain rails extend beyond the window so curtains can be opened fully to let sun in.

4. Do all the repairs – big and small. If it is seen to be broken, it is devalued, and raises questions about the quality of the property and the quality of the landlord. Tenants are your customers, consider their needs.

5. Consider replacing anything that is touched e.g. door handles, light-switches and cupboard handles – test them for how they feel as well as how they look before you buy.

6. Change the light fittings – shedding some light on the property can improve things, and attractive fittings even more so.

7. Floor coverings make a huge proportion of the visual effect. Consider replacing worn out carpet, refinishing floor boards, renewing lino if a good clean does not do the job.

8. Install a burglary alarm or other security devices. Occupants want to feel safe, and know their things are too. Good locks on doors and windows are highly recommended.

9. Is there ways to open up rooms to make them bigger? A pokey kitchen could be opened up to the dining room by removing non-structural walls, and likewise, the lounge may benefit from removing the connecting hall wall to open it up. Seek a builder’s opinion and help.

10. New kitchen cupboards, and bathroom vanity, can cost less than you fear if you are willing to do some construction yourself – see the flat-pack options at hardware stores.

11. A new shower curtain can make the difference in a bathroom. Choose something tasteful, and choose a washable fabric, not plastic, so it feels better as well as looks good. It lasts longer too.

12. Write an appealing, but truthful, advert. Do not oversell it as you will just have disappointed prospective tenants walking away, and possibly put off those who would love it.

13. Be professional with your dealing. If tenants see things are being attended to quickly, they will feel they are getting value for money, and treat you and the property better than a resentful tenant would.

14. Plan your changes to minimise the time it takes, and not have people tripping over each other, nor waiting for the previous stage to be complete. The less time it is empty, the more rent you can get during the year.

15. Make the changes appropriate for the market you are aiming for. A mansion in a slum will not rent for as much as it costs you, and will not attract the kind of tenants you want, so do not over-do it.

Source: http://bit.ly/1PsfsLF

20
Jan

Barcelone ordonne la fermeture de 400 appartements touristiques illégaux et inflige une amende à près de 500 propriétaires

Inspections et dénonciations des citoyens ont permis de détecter mille maisons hors la loi.

Le Conseil Municipal a ordonné la fermeture de près de 400 appartements touristiques illégaux et a infligé une amende à près de 500 propriétaires opérant illégalement mais également un réexamen administratif des licences de 400 appartements, qui ne répondent pas aux exigences réglementaires. Ce sont quelques-unes des données enregistrées lors des travaux d’inspection, effectués en 2015 et initiés par l’ancien maire Xavier Trias à la fin de son mandat. Un travail qui a permis de détecter mille appartements touristiques illégaux.

« Nous serons intransigeant pour rendre le tourisme compatible avec le repos et la coexistence avec les voisins “, a déclaré lundi la quatrième adjointe au maire et la chef de l’Urbanisme, Janet Sanz, durant la présentation des résultats des inspections. Près de 4.000 visites ont eu lieu, soit d’office (2146 renforcés par l’inspection) ou par des agents de la Guardia Urbana (1816) qui ont réagi à la suite des avis publics.

Le but des inspections est de lutter contre les appartements qui sont loués aux touristes illégalement et contrôler les «distorsions» qui peuvent générer dans leur environnement. Les appels des citoyens au 010 et 012, ont été une source importante d’avertissements, a expliqué Sanz. Tout au long de l’année, 3.000 appels ont été reçus pour environ 2.400 appartements, la plupart d’entre eux étant concentrés pendant les mois d’été et principalement dans le quartier de Ciutat Vella.

Quand un appel est reçu, a expliqué l’adjointe au maire, nous appelons le propriétaire; si il ne répond pas ou si il est peu coopératifs, des sanctions disciplinaires sont engagées, celles-ci s’élèvent à 900 euros. En parallèle, nous informons la police locale pour inspecter la maison. Les amendes pour les logements illégaux peuvent atteindre 30.000 euros.

Renforcement de la Barceloneta

Le quartier de La Barceloneta est un cas particulier, car les habitants se sont révoltés contre les 2014 appartements touristiques d’été. Seuls 72 appartements touristiques opéraient légalement, ainsi, le quartier dispose d’un bureau spécifique pour les dénonciations. Il a reçu 250 notifications réparties entre les instances, les communications et les appels anonymes. De plus, dans la Barceloneta, le Conseil Municipal agit sans préavis, ce qui a permis de réaliser 8553 inspections.

Dans le quartier, les appartements ayant une licence sont identifiés par une plaque. Ces plaques sont placées à côté de la porte, sur celles-ci se trouvent le numéro de licence et le contact téléphonique, qui doivent être activés.

Offres illégales sur internet

Janet Sanz a rappelé que Barcelone a mis l’accent sur la détection de transaction illégale en ligne. En été, 22 plates-formes numériques proposant des locations touristiques, ont été contraintes de faciliter l’accès aux données personnelles des propriétaires, tout en leurs rappelant que les annonces doivent préciser le numéro d’inscription au registre du Tourisme de Barcelone. Actuellement, le Conseil Municipal est en train de faire le suivi place les exigences.

De plus, payé en partie par la taxe de séjour récolté à Barcelone, le Conseil Municipal dispose d’une toile d’araignée qui piste les offres de location de logements et permet d’alerter les inspecteurs que ces logements peuvent être loués à des touristes.

Suite à l’utilisation de cet outil, en Décembre dernier, le Conseil Municipal a traité quatre amendes de 30.000 euros chacune aux plates-formes HomeAway et Airbnb -deux chacune- pour avoir publié des annonces de location sans le numéro d’enregistrement au registre du Tourisme de Catalogne (RTC) et pour ne pas avoir fournit les renseignements demandés par l’Administration. Une autre façon de lutter contre le tourisme illégal a été de fournir des données personnelles des propriétaires au Ministère des finances et 986 779 enregistrements. L’autre façon de lutter contre le tourisme illégale a été de fournir au Ministère de des Finances les données personnelles de 779 propriétaires et 986 dossiers.

Pour plus d’information, veuillez nous contacter par e-mail : rebecca@rubyslippersbcn.com

Article traduit de http://bit.ly/1OFf6BP @ElPais

15
Jan

New consensus to regulate the zones to supply of tourist accommodation in BCN

Due to the boom of visiphototors to Barcelona it has been agreed to apply different criteria to the different neighbourhoods.

The affected businesses are demanding action against the illegal supply of beds for daily rentals.

There were many different voices and conflicting interests, but after more than three hours of meeting on the regulation of tourist accommodation in Barcelona it ended last night with some points of agreement. Particularly with regard to applying a regulation to the letter for each zone, depending on their current density of places of tourist accommodation to your number of visitors and its urban physiognomy. They also want more hard measures put in place against illegal stays, although the council has noted that this is another war and that the special plan in the works now aims to regulate the legal and future development.

It was the second multi-stakeholder meeting convened by the council with diverse voices Amfitrions representatives of Barcelona (which rent rooms in their homes and conducted a pre-meeting doors concentration), associations of shelters (Acatur) and tourist flats (Apartur and Prohut), the Barcelona Hotel Association, Friends of the Rambla, the management of travel agencies ACAV, the Consell de Gremis, Fundació Barcelona Commerce, Barcelona Open, CCOO, the Youth Council of Barcelona, Ecologistes in Thanksgiving, neighbors FAVB and Barris per Assemblea Sustainable Tourism (ABTS) … and the Official College of Architects of Catalunya.

A DIFFICULT BALANCE

Planning Councillor, Janet Sanz, finished the session satisfied by “consensus on indicators” and raised “unprecedented” format to try to agree on so many sectors, knowing that the plan “will not solve everything.” At the end of the month they will present a proposal for a regulation areas.

More than 50 participants were divided into three working groups and exposed their views on municipal proposals posed reduce, maintain or increase steadily accommodation units, depending on the characteristics of each area, as this newspaper reported Wednesday. In the new session, the Barcelona Hotel photoAssociation has pleaded not cut the tourist development of the city and thought that even slowing hotels, major tourist attractions involving saturation in some areas. In Apartur they have called decoupling tourism shortage of public housing and dealing with conflict illegal. Since supply more trade data requested in the debate on the contribution of tourism to the economic revitalization of the city. While the neighborhood has defended flank cut supply in some areas and has put on the table the effect of illegal offer on the involvement of public space. It has also complained of “little representation among lobbys” called, according to Hector Panizo, the ABTS. Everyone accepts regulate according to the saturation of the territory, but both neighbors represented as environmentalists require filters in the ‘virgin’ areas.

Translated loosly from: http://www.elperiodico.com/es/noticias/barcelona/consenso-para-regular-por-zonas-oferta-alojamiento-turistico-barcelona-4817416

14
Jan

How clean is your bedding?

The poll of nearly 2,200 men and women over the age of 18 found that 82 per cent of people do not know how often they should replace their pillows and duvet. The survey revealed 57 per cent of people only replace their bedding when it feels likp01e it is wearing thin.

Some 46 per cent say they replace it when they feel like it has been too long since they last changed their bedding.

A study showed that on average we use a pillow for 3.2 years and a duvet for 7.6 years.

But according to Sleep Council, pillows should be replaced every two years and duvets should be thrown away after five years. On the other hand, Dr Robert Oexman believes that you should replace your pillow every six months. At Ruby Slippers BCN, we think that you should clean them every six months and replace them every two years.

As a result, experts say they are risking neck problems caused by sleeping without enough head and neck support. They are also at risk of health problems because old bedding can cause acne and allergies. Indeed, dirt, oil, dust mites and dead skin can build up in older pillows.

In this way, you should regularly wash bedding and put it in a tumble dryer.

Source: Daily Mail, Evoke

 

11
Jan

Boarding pass safety

Dear traveller,

You would never imagine the potential damage of being careless with your boarding pass.

When we travel by air, we hold onto our boarding passes like our lives depend on it, before boarding. We know that without it we are not getting on that plane. Once we have boarded, many of us become more careless about it’s whereabouts, because we are done with it. Sometimes we slip it in the seat pocket in front of us, stick it in a magazine, or just chuck it.

But all that an unscrupulous person has to do is get a screen shot of the bar code on the boarding pass, and feed it into a bar code reader on “Inlite’s” site. It was pointed out by a forensic expert for CBS, Winston Krone, that it is possible for the encrypted information on the bar code to contain personal email addresses, home addresses and phone numbers. Access to personal financial information is just a step away.

You should watch the footage below to help insure the safety of your personal information.

Source: conspiracyclub 

05
Jan

What is PER?

Buy to let is one of the most profitable options for small investors now. Gross Profitability for rental in Spain is 4.6%… Much more appetizing than the current interest rates offered at the bank. Banks are now freeing up more money for savers to be able to buy to let. This news should also motivate all owners who are holding empty flats. Below is the explanation on how to make an apartment rental profitable.

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Find out what is your PER (Price Earnings Ratio).

The latest report from the Bank of Spain on Market Indicators Housing shows that Gross Profitability of the apartments amount to 4.6% in the second quarter. There are no banks that can offer that rate at the moment. The interest on deposits of the leading financial institutions in the country are less than 1% and in very few cases come to just surpass this. This 4.6% Gross Profitability equals to an average PER of about 22 years or 264 months.

But lets look at this in parts, what is PER? It is  the number of years it would take to pay for the apartment with the rent money. It is calculated by dividing the price to the annual rent apartment. So the PER is that asks you how long it would take years to recover the money invested in buying the rented house. This means that the PER serves you to find out the profitability of the apartment when rented.

Lets look at an example:

If your flat will cost 250,000 euros and  you achieve 6,800 euros annual rental income, it will take 37 years to recover the investment. (Too long)

During the housing bubble the average PER was 33. At the end of 2008 it had dropped to 27. And it´s now at 22.

You should always try to have a PER below the country’s average for you to make a profitable rental.

Enalquiler – http://bit.ly/1MQo9Oi