Frequently Asked Questions

  • About CWU

    • 1. Who is Crowd with Us (CWU)?

      CWU was founded by three entrepreneurs in 2014: Robert Pasternak, Robert Wilkinson and Thor Portess.

      All three have extensive experience in property investment, development and construction, as well as finance and business management. Between them, they have been directly involved in more than 50 separate property deals and indirectly involved in many more.

      In addition to property, they have substantial experience in disruptive technology businesses spanning 1997 to the present.

      CWU’s goal is to provide the investors with a new and innovative way to own property investments in the UK. Our long-term aim is to expand globally.
    • 2. When was CWU established?

      CWU was incorporated in October 2014. Before this, we operated a similar model working with private investors offline, and CWU is an extension of this model.
    • 3. What kind of business is CWU?

      Crowd with Us is a property crowdfunding business. Through our online platform, people who would like to invest into property projects may do so with as little as £1. Being a crowd investor (you may only have small or medium-sized sums to invest), you can benefit from the kinds of returns usually only found in exclusive or larger property investments.

      Our projects are carefully vetted and selected for promotion on the platform and each one offers a unique return.

      The platform we operate is entirely transparent. If you don’t make money, nor do the developers. Our mission however is to ensure that everyone gets a good rate of return. So far we have 100% track record in delivering.

      For developers needing funding for their property development projects, this means a broader base of investors to work with and far less admin for processing funds.

      Risk warning: capital at risk and returns not guaranteed. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
    • 4. Is crowdfunding a regulated activity?

      Yes. Crowdfunding is a regulated activity in the UK and each country across the world has specific regulations regarding the adoption of crowdfunding.

      The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK issued a Policy statement (14/4) The FCA's regulatory approach to crowdfunding over the internet, and the promotion of non-readily realisable securities by other media, in March 2014.

      For detail information please see Regulation below.
  • Getting started

    • 1. How do I start investing with CWU?

      To get started, first you need to sign up on the Crowd with Us website.

      To use the CWU platform, you must be over the age of 18 and fall into one of the categories defined by the FCA (retail investor, sophisticated investor, high net-worth individual).

      If you are suitable for investing, you will receive a verification email which you need to click to complete the sign-up process.

      You will then be asked to complete our onboarding process where you will be prompted to provide verification of your identity (passport or driving licence). Once this process is complete, you can start investing.
    • 2. Who can invest with CWU?

      To use the CWU platform you must be over the age of 18 and fall into one of the categories defined by the FCA (retail investor, sophisticated investor, high net-worth individual).

      We accept both UK and international investors. For non-UK citizens, please contact us. And we will help you through the process.
  • What types of accounts does CWU support?

    We currently support personal investment accounts, business accounts for UK Limited Companies and SSAS accounts. Depending on how you choose to invest, you may be asked to provide additional documentation which include:
    • Proof of identity or legal representative: ID card, passport, driving licence
    • Certified Articles of Association - a formal memorandum in which the following information is explicit: business name, activity, registered address, shareholding
    • Extract from the Company Register, issued within the last three months. This can be a proof of registration or a certificate of incorporation from the official authority.
  • Loading your wallet

    • 1. What are the minimum and maximum investments?

      We have no minimum or maximum investment threshold however each deal is limited by the amount that needs to be raised. If a particular property is fully funded, you can choose to invest in the next.
    • 2. How do I add funds to my wallet?

      To add funds to your wallet, simply log in to your account and click on ‘add funds’ in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Enter the amount you’d like to transfer. You have the option to make the payment by credit/debit card or by bank transfer. Please note that credit cards can only be used for transactions up to a maximum of £1800.

      For larger amounts you will be given a one-off unique reference along with the correct bank details. This one-off reference will only work for the amount you’ve stated that you’ll be transferring, and can only be used once.

      You will then need to complete the investor self-certification. This means declaring whether you are a retail, sophisticated or high-net worth investor and uploading a valid form of identity.

      Your request may take up to 48 hours to authorise. Once authorised, you will receive an email notification and will be able to view the funds in your e-wallet. You’re now ready to select the project you’d like to invest in and to make the investment.
    • 3. Who holds the funds in my wallet?

      At all stages of the investment and returns process, your money will sit in escrow with MANGOPAY via your electronic wallet (e-wallet) on the Crowd with Us website. Funds are processed by an SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) approved lawyer allocated to the property, as well as our payment services firm, MANGOPAY. CWU do not hold your money.

      MANGOPAY is our payment services firm who provide an e-wallet service for receiving, holding and sending funds on behalf of you and the property developers. MANGOPAY’s e-money license allows them to take care of all of the administration. Using this service, we can accept debit and credit card transactions in addition to the standard bank transfer.

      MANGOPAY is owned by the Leetchi Group. Leetchi is a fully licensed e-money issuer. The license was granted by the CSSF in Luxembourg and passported in the 28 countries of the EEA, including the UK.
    • 4. My card payment has been declined, why?

      If this is the first time you have used your debit card to make an investment with us, it is likely that your bank has cancelled the payment as a fraud protection measure. This is not uncommon, and it will simply require you to make contact with your bank to verify your intention to send funds. You should only have to do this the first time.
  • Investing

    • 1. What am I investing in?

      On the Crowd with Us website, you’ll have the opportunity to invest in two types of property deals – property developments and ‘distressed’ property.

      The deals are found, acquired and developed by registered property developers for future rent or sale. We assess each deal on its merits and only present those that we feel offer good profit margins for you as an investor.

      Depending on the project you can invest as a shareholder or through loan notes. More information on this can be found on our How it Works page.

      Your investment funds are used, together with bank finance taken out by the developer, to acquire and develop the properties.

      With financially distressed deals, the funds raised may be used towards paying off arrears on a mortgage or for clearing debts which are secured against a property so that it can be rented or sold. In some cases, the properties will be bought outright by a property developer with you and other investors.

      The property developments will either be sold as soon as the development is complete or rented until the values reach a pre-determined sales trigger value. CWU may be appointed as the rental management company or we may appoint an external letting agent.

      Full details of each available investment opportunity are shown on our Properties page.
    • 2. Who pays for the renovation or development?

      The costs of any renovation or development will be included as part of the overall project cost and therefore covered from the funds raised at the outset.

      Also, a development contingency amount will be raised for each property project to allow for unforeseen expenses.

      In the unlikely event that the contingency funds are not enough to cover a budget going over, more shares may be issued by the developer’s SPV Company to cover the costs.
    • 3. What fees will I pay?

      As an investor, the only fees you will pay are a small 45p fee each time you withdraw funds.

      Crowd with Us is paid a ‘success fee’ by the developer when the funds are fully raised for each deal on the CWU website, and a success-based management fee when a deal is sold (calculated on a deal-by-deal basis).

      Where CWU manages any rental properties, CWU earns a management fee, as outlined below:

      (1) Deal Fundraise Fee - 5% of the total deal acquisition costs when a deal is fully funded.

      (2) Rental Management Fee - 10% per annum (plus VAT) of the gross rent which may be paid to Crowd with Us or to an external letting agent.
    • 4. Can I invest in multiple property investments?

      Yes. Our crowdfunding platform is designed to allow you to spread your money across multiple investments and help you build a diversified portfolio. You choose the project and how many shares or loan notes you’d like to invest in. There is no limit to the amount of opportunities you can participate in.

      We aim to help you build a successful portfolio from the comfort of your home.
    • 5. Does CWU provide investment advice?

      No, we do not recommend investments or provide investment advice. We expect each investor to undertake their own research and due diligence before making an investment and encourage them to obtain independent financial advice.
    • 6. What kind of properties will I see promoted on the CWU platform?

      These will primarily be existing properties and land with the potential for development, or where there is a distressed financial situation which can be rescued via crowdfunding.
    • 7. How does CWU assess a development or investment to put on the platform?

      Before going live, all our deals and developers must satisfy our due diligence process.

      For each deal, we assess the following five areas:
      • Purchase price (of the land or property, referred to as ‘residual land value’)
      • Deal costs (all costs exclusive of development costs - such as legal fees, stamp duty, finance costs, estate agent costs, and so on)
      • Development costs (the build and infrastructure costs plus any associated costs such as professional fees and any levies due to the local authority if applicable)
      • Gross Development Value or GDV (the end value of the property)
      • Profit (the profit margin which is calculated as the GDV less the purchase price, deal costs and development costs)

      With regard to our developers, we undertake Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Client (KYC) checks which verify their identity. We also check the developer at Companies House.

      We then assess each deal on a case-by-case basis as above. In some cases, a developer may have lost money on a deal in the past where the economy dived. This past record will not necessarily preclude the developer from being able to raise finance, though we will take it into consideration as part of our entire due diligence process, assessing whether we can work with the developer.

      Once this is complete the property is ready to be uploaded onto the CWU platform.

      For more information on our full due diligence process you can read through the Due Diligence Handbook.
    • 8. Will I own the property?

      No. As an investor, you will own shares or bonds or loan notes in the company that owns the property.

      The SPV company is owned by the property developer and you are issued shares when you make your investment into the SPV Company via the Crowd with Us website. The process for buying shares in a SPV company via CWU is as follows:

      • You buy shares in the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) company
      • The SPV company owns the property with you & other shareholders
      • The company shares are registered at Companies House
      • Company ownership is also registered at HM Land Registry.
    • 9. What documentation do I receive for my investments?

      TBC
    • 10. What are the terms of an investment?

      The terms of each investment vary. The details for each individual investment are outlined on the individual property investment page and associated documents. It’s important to review this information carefully and to ensure that any questions or queries you have are fully answered.
    • 11. What happens if I change my mind or want to exit my investment early?

      If the property is not yet fully funded, you have the right to withdraw from an investment within 14 days of your initial investment pledge, by sending an email to us at info@crowdwithus.london. However, if the funding round is closed and you change your mind, you may not be able to withdraw your investment.

      We will assist you where we can by introducing you to other investors who may want to take on your share(s), or by helping promote your interest in selling your share(s). We cannot guarantee however that you will be able to sell your shares and loan notes, or at what price. You are however free to sell or transfer your shares to a third party, provided that they satisfy the terms set out in the Shareholders Agreement.

      In all cases please consider your options before investing in a property, as it should be viewed as a medium-term rather than short-term investment.
    • 12. How do I manage my risk?

      Crowd with Us undertakes extensive due diligence on each property to ensure risks are reduced to a manageable level or removed altogether where possible.

      The benefits of crowdfunding are that you can share the risk with the rest of the crowd.

      To further reduce your risk, you can spread your investment over several different projects as opposed to just investing in one project.
  • Tracking your investments

    • 1. How do I track the performance of my investments?

      When you sign up with us you’ll be able to choose your username and password which will sign you into your own personal accounts area. Once in, you’ll have full access to the site, including the properties you’ve invested in. Your accounts section contains information about the financial performance of your investments.

      You will also receive monthly updates on the progress and performance of each of your investments by email as well as invitations to attend site visits at various intervals as the project progresses.
    • 2. When can I expect a return on my investment and how will it be distributed?

      Shares
      Dividends are earned on the rental profit and capital growth from the sale of a property, and will be directly proportionate to your shareholding.

      Dividends pertaining to rental profit will only be earned when a property is rented out and not during a refurbishment or vacant period.

      Crowd with Us will ensure all funds due to you – either rental profit or the return on your investment from the sale of a property - are paid into your e-wallet account via the CWU website. You will then have the option to reinvest or withdraw all or part of this.

      Payment of dividends will be monthly, quarterly or annually and may vary from property to property. Please check the Shareholders Agreement for your particular property for more information.

      Loan Notes
      You will receive fixed-interest payments on your loan notes. These interest payments will be paid at intervals as set out in the loan note promotion.

      The intervals will be either monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, annually or at specific intervals as set out in the promotion for each deal.
    • 3. How do I withdraw funds from my wallet?

      Crowd with Us will ensure all funds due to you from rental dividends, the sale of properties (SPV company dividends) or from loan note interest, are paid into your e-wallet account. You may reinvest or withdraw all or part of your funds.

      Provided you have funds in your e-wallet, you can just log in to your account and withdraw the funds. There is a small fee of 45p for each withdrawal from your e-wallet.
    • 4. What tax do I pay?

      As the properties are held within a limited company (the SPV company) profits will be liable to corporation tax. This will be deducted before any profits are released to you. Corporation tax as determined by HMRC is currently 19% per annum.

      For any personal taxes - CWU does not provide tax advice and so we encourage investors to seek guidance from an accountant or independent tax adviser. Your transaction history can be easily downloaded which can be used for tax reporting purposes.
    • 5. Will I receive EIS or SEIS tax relief?

      Not in SPV company deals for properties.

      However, if you are interested in possible Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) initiatives, Crowd with Us may have an opportunity for you to invest in CWU as the top company.

      Please click here for more information.
  • Regulation

    • 1. Is CWU regulated by the FCA?

      Crowd with Us Limited is an appointed representative of Share In Ltd. Share In Ltd are directly authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
    • 2. Is CWU included in the FSCS?

      Investments are not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Please read the Risk Statement before investing.
    • 3. How will my personal data be stored?

      For comprehensive information about your data and our Privacy Policy please go to:
      https://www.crowdwithus.london/site/privacy-policy
  • General

    • 1. What happens if Crowd with Us goes out of business?

      Each property is purchased through an individual SPV, meaning no single property’s financial performance can affect another’s, and each property is totally separate from the assets and liabilities of Crowd with Us.

      In the unlikely event that CWU were to go out of business, an alternative external manager would be brought in to take over the management of the affiliated properties.

      Any funds held within your e-wallet account and not yet invested in a property, are - in accordance with FCA rules - held separately to any company funds and would be returned to you.
    • 2. What happens if an Investment Provider goes out of business?

      TBC
    • 3. If another property encounters problems, will that affect me?

      The benefit of buying each property within a separate company is to separate the effects of one investment on another. Thus, if another property encounters difficulties, it will not affect you or your property project.
    • 4. Will I be able to speak to anyone if I have a question or problem?

      While we encourage you to go to the website as most of the answers to your questions can be found there, we are available to answer any queries you may have in person.

      Where possible and appropriate, we will put you in touch with the property developer if you do not already have contact with them.
    • 5. How can I make a complaint?

      We aim to deliver a superb service every time however we also understand that sometimes things might go wrong. We can usually resolve most issues straightaway, so please email us at info@crowdwithus.london or call us on +44 (0)207 190 9900 to tell us how we can help.
      So that we can help you, you’ll need to tell us:
      • Your personal details
      • What's gone wrong
      • What you want us to do to put things right

      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 three 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 a positive outcome. We'll give you regular updates. 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 you're unhappy with the outcome, UK Residents can ask the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) to carry out an independent review of your complaint. In any event, you have the right to ask the FOS to review your complaint if we've been unable to resolve it within eight weeks.



      The FOS can help UK residents with most complaints if you are:
      • A consumer
      • A business employing fewer than ten persons that has an annual turnover which doesn't exceed €2 million

      If you are unsure whether the FOS will consider your complaint, please contact them directly for advice. The service the FOS provides is free and impartial and contacting them at any stage of your complaint will not affect your legal rights. The contact details for the FOS are:

      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. You can send an email to complaint.info@financial-ombudsman.org.uk