Frequently Asked Questions

Getting started

 

Bricklane.com enables people to grow their savings with the housing market through the first online Property ISA. Investors own a share in a fund which holds residential property, and can start investing with as little as £100. Investors earn rental income, as well as price changes on the properties that the fund owns. They can manage and withdraw their money, with no notice period, from an easy-to-use dashboard on bricklane.com.

 

Register through our secure website. This takes about 10 minutes. You will be asked how much you want to invest and how you wish to fund your account (one or more of: ISA Transfer, single payment, or monthly recurring payment). We then perform identity and anti-money laundering checks, action your payment, and invest your money in Bricklane.com's fund at the next investment cycle (within 2 weeks of when we receive your payment, which can take up to 7 days to reach us). You invest in a fund (a plc classified as a Real Estate Investment Trust or REIT) that owns houses and flats. The properties are let to tenants and professionally managed on your behalf.

Over time, the value of Bricklane.com customers’ investments tracks movements in the properties owned, plus rental income is earned on top.

Once invested, customers can view the performance of their investment from their dashboard when logged into Bricklane.com. From there, customers can add more funds, change their monthly contribution, and see more information about the properties they own a share of. They can also request to exit their investments, with no minimum holding period or exit fees.

 

Bricklane.com shares are held by a custodian bank, and are protected up to the first £50,000 by the FSCS in the unlikely event of their insolvency.

However, it’s important to understand that the FSCS doesn't cover you in the event that your investments do not perform as expected and you get back less than you originally invested. More information can be found at fscs.org.uk.

 

We are happy to help you with any questions about our service, whether via online chat, email or over the phone. However we do not offer financial or tax advice. If you’re unsure, you should always seek the advice of an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) or an accounting professional.

 

There is no maximum investment in Bricklane.com. If you want to make a single contribution of more than £50,000, we suggest you get in touch with our support team directly (support@bricklane.com or 0203 1111 432) to discuss the process.

 

There are two Bricklane.com charges that support our service to customers: 2% of the money you invest—charged when you put money into Bricklane.com—and an 0.85% annual fee on your total holdings, which is charged monthly.

 

Your savings are invested in a fund of properties, owned by you and other Bricklane.com customers and let and managed on your behalf. In the long term, the price of your shares reflects the value of the properties owned — when the properties change in value, so does your investment. Alongside, the properties generate rental income. This rental income can be reinvested in Bricklane.com, generating further rental income, or distributed to your bank account. You can choose either way during sign up. Please note that your capital is at risk.

 

Customers can request to exit their investment in a few clicks at any time from within their Dashboard. During normal market conditions, you can exit within 2 weeks by selling to another customer.

If, in exceptional circumstances, there is ever a shortage of buyers for your shares, you will have the option of waiting for a buyer to sell at market value, or offering them at a discount to incoming investors to sell them faster. You will be given this choice in your dashboard, with the opportunity to set the maximum discount at which to sell your shares to an incoming investor.

If you choose to wait for a buyer, and we take the view that there is likely to be a sustained imbalance of supply and demand, the fund may choose to downsize and buy your shares back from you. If there are no funds available for this purpose, the fund would sell property in order to generate them, which is the reason we make reference to 'the time it takes to sell a property, or longer'.

ISAs (Individual Savings Accounts)

A Stocks and Shares ISA may not be right for everyone and tax rules may change in the future. If you are unsure if an ISA is the right choice for you, please seek independent financial advice.

 

An ISA (Individual Savings Account) is a tax efficient way to save. UK residents can invest up to £15,240 (in the 2016/17 tax year) tax-free. It means that you won’t pay tax on any increase in the value of your investments or income received. The tax year ends on the 6th of April each year.

To make your Bricklane.com investment ISA-eligible, you must select this option during sign up. Please note that the tax advantages of ISAs depend on your individual circumstances and may change in the future.

 

Simply register with Bricklane.com, then tick “Open a 2016/17 ISA” in the ‘Fund your account’ screen during the signup process.

If you have opted to set up a monthly contribution to your account, and have opened an ISA with Bricklane.com, investments after the end of the current tax year will automatically be included in your ISA for the following year, unless you let us know otherwise.

 

No, you can choose to open a normal, taxable account with Bricklane.com. You will make this choice during sign up.

 

Property ISA is the term that we use to describe the Bricklane.com product. It consists of a property fund that invests in residential property, which can be included in a Stocks and Shares ISA

 

The Help-to-Buy ISA is a type of Cash ISA, whereas the Bricklane.com provides a Stocks and Shares ISA. You are able to pay into one Cash ISA and one Stocks and Shares ISA in each tax year.

 

Yes, the Help-To-Buy ISA a type of Cash ISA. You are able to pay into one Cash ISA and one Stocks and Shares ISA in each tax year, however the total amount contributed must be below your annual allowance. This is £15,240 for the 2016/17 tax year.

 

Yes, you are able to pay into in one Cash ISA and one Stocks and Shares ISA in each tax year, however the total amount contributed must be below your annual allowance. This is £15,240 for the 2016/17 tax year.

 

Bricklane.com provides a Stocks and Shares ISA (S&S ISA), and you're only allowed to pay into one of these in each tax year. If you've already paid into another S&S ISA in the current tax year, then you can use Bricklane.com, but can’t open a new 2016/17 ISA with us. You have a couple of options: Either you can transfer an existing ISA to us (partially or fully), or you can opt for a normal, taxable account with Bricklane.com.

If you transfer 2016/17 ISA contributions to us, you won’t be able to make further contributions to your other account this year. If you transfer contributions from a previous year’s ISA, you could continue contributing to your 2016/17 ISA with your existing manager.

If you wish to open a normal, taxable account with Bricklane.com, you do so by leaving the “Open a 2016/17 ISA” checkbox unchecked during the sign up process.

 

Yes you can. If you want to use your ISA allowance, and invest more on top, you can do so by following the normal signup process. Tick the “Open a 2016/17 ISA” box in the “Fund your account” screen, and let us know your initial payment and/or monthly contributions. If these add up to more than your ISA allowance for the year, the surplus will be included in a normal, taxable account.

 

Yes. If you are a new customer, you will be given the option to transfer in an existing ISA during the signup process. All you need to do is print, sign and return a form letting us know the details of the ISA you want to transfer, and we handle all communication with your existing ISA manager on your behalf.

If you are already an existing Bricklane.com customer and wish to transfer in an ISA, please login and generate your ISA Transfer form from your Dashboard.

About the fund

 

A UK Real Estate Investment Trust is a UK company that specialises in investment in property, and has to conform to high standards of governance and risk management. In return, HMRC approves the REIT to not pay any corporation tax on any increase in value or rental income from properties held.

It has to be domiciled in the UK and pay UK tax, distribute at least 90% of rental income to investors (which you can opt to re-invest), and be listed on an HMRC recognised stock exchange.

Bricklane.com’s Regional Capitals fund has been classified by HMRC as a REIT. There is about £41bn of property investment in UK REITs including with brands such as British Land, Land Securities and Schroders.

 

Bricklane.com’s fund is owned by its customers, and separate to the Bricklane.com business itself. In order to give customers as much protection as possible, the FCA dictates that the fund must have a series of regulated independent suppliers.

Gallium Fund Solutions and Gallium PE Depositary act as Alternative Investment Fund Manager (AIFM) and Depositary to the fund. The Gallium team has launched over 150 funds with gross assets of over £14.5 billion. They safeguard ownership of the properties on investors’ behalf, and monitor ongoing operational and regulatory activities of the fund.

Bricklane.com acts as Investment Adviser to the fund, sourcing investment opportunities. You can find more information about Bricklane.com’s property expertise on the About Us page.

Bricklane.com fund’s Board is comprised of two Independent Directors (Craig Hallam and Paul Windsor), as well as the CEO and CFO of Bricklane.com. Read About Us for more information.

 

The fund is audited by Deloitte, a leading global accountancy practice. They are appointed to independently check the fund’s annual financial statements.

 

Bricklane.com chooses properties and areas which have potential for future price growth, as well as strong rental demand. Property prices respond to many different factors: economic, demographic, political and otherwise. Since there can be no certainty about what will happen to prices, we do not give predictions ourselves. We do however provide historical performance data where appropriate for your reference.

 

No, Bricklane.com’s product does not use debt (also known as leverage). While debt can amplify returns, it also increases risk, and adds an extra layer of complexity. Through this approach, Bricklane.com can deliver a more stable return to a wider range of customers.

 

If the price of the property in the portfolio declines, this will be reflected in the price of your shares. This could be at least partially offset by rental income derived from the property each month. For some, this may represent a good time to buy further shares, particularly if they believe that property prices will continue to rise in the long term.

 

Yes, you can. As a UK fund, we are required to distribute at least 90% of the rental income (after costs) generated from the properties owned by our customers. During the sign up process, you can opt to reinvest your rental income in further shares, compounding your returns.

 

We look for properties that renters will love, and that we would aspire to live in ourselves - homes with character in great areas.

We will consider both new build and existing properties in areas with strong local economies, vibrant cultural and a real sense of community, within easy commuting distance of the city centres.

Through our expertise in residential property and smart, proprietary data modelling, we make sure we only target the best areas, with strong rental demand and potential for price rises.

All Bricklane.com’s property is available online for our customers to explore whenever they want.

Learn more about our experienced real estate team.

 

The portfolio of properties owned by the fund are valued on a monthly basis by independent professional valuers at Allsop LLP, according to RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Standards. There is an in-person independent valuation of each property before purchase, followed by a monthly ‘desk valuation’ of the portfolio based on review of the market over the previous month. Bricklane.com will commission further in-person valuations periodically based on the condition of the property or other material changes to it .

 

Properties are let out to tenants at market rates, through an open search process run by our property managers in each city. The properties we buy are intended to be attractive to professional sharers, who will look after the properties well.

 

No, never. Any routine or unexpected costs arising will be covered by cash held in the fund. This may mean that expected rental income is reduced in certain months.

 

As a UK REIT, Bricklane.com’s fund is exempt from paying tax on increases in the value of property owned, and rental income received.

If you hold your Bricklane.com investments through an ISA, this means you are also personally exempt from tax on the gains in the value of your investment, and on income received. See further details on ISAs above.

Through combining the ISA and REIT structures, Bricklane.com allows investors to receive similar tax treatment to owning their own home directly.

The fund pays Stamp Duty Land Tax on all purchases at the higher rate established during the 2016 Budget.

The purchase of shares may incur a Stamp Duty Reserve Tax charge. This is allocated fairly across investors in each fortnightly trading cycle, and will not exceed 0.5% of the investment. Any amount due will be deducted from your deposit.

We do not provide personal tax advice and tax rates, allowances and rules referred to are liable to change. Please note that the tax advantages of ISAs depend on your individual circumstances. If you are unsure of your position, please consult a professional advisor.

 

Customers’ returns from price changes and rental income are reflected in a share price, which drives the return they receive from investing with Bricklane.com, and the price incoming investors pay for their shares.

This is based on a calculation of the Net Asset Value of the fund by the Alternative Investment Fund Manager, based on an independent valuation of properties and accrued net rental income.

This Net Asset Value is based on IFRS accounting standards, but is unaudited due to the frequency of trading cycles (once every two weeks). The fund is subject to an annual audit by Deloitte LLP.

As the fund takes on new investment, it expands and purchases new properties. In order to treat customers fairly, and not penalise existing shareholders, purchase costs are recognised over the course of the first five years of owning the property, so that it is offset against the income generated.

Security

 

Bricklane.com customers’ security is our top priority.

We use the same level of encryption as major banks, transfer data through 128-bit SSL encrypted channels, and keep any stored data on servers stored in secure facilities.

We protect the privacy of your information and will never share your data with any third party without your permission (for more information, please review our Privacy Policy).

 

As with all investments, investing with Bricklane.com carries risks.

The value of your Bricklane.com investments can decrease as well as increase. It could take the time it takes to sell a property, or longer, to get your money back at an acceptable price. Rental yields and dividends may be lower than estimated.

A Stocks and Shares ISA may not be right for everyone and tax rules may change in the future. If you are unsure if an ISA is the right choice for you, please seek independent financial advice.

Before you complete sign up, you will be asked to read—and indicate understanding of—a detailed list of risks. For a full list of risks, please consult the REIT prospectus.

 

In the very unlikely event that Bricklane.com were to cease trading, the fund and its assets are ringfenced from the operating company of Bricklane.com. In addition, your investments would continue safeguarded and monitored by an FCA-regulated depositary (Gallium PE Depositary Limited). Bricklane.com shares are held by a custodian bank, and are protected up to the first £50,000 by the FSCS in the unlikely event of their insolvency.

Account closure

 

Firstly, action a withdrawal on your dashboard and ensure you withdraw all of your money from Bricklane.com. Then email support@bricklane.com from the email address associated with your account, and we will walk you through the next steps.

Capital at risk

As with all investments, the value of your Bricklane.com investments can decrease as well as increase. It could take the time it takes to sell a property, or longer, to get your money back at an acceptable price.

Rental yields and dividends may be lower than estimated.

A Stocks and Shares ISA may not be right for everyone and tax rules may change in the future. If you are unsure if an ISA is the right choice for you, please seek independent financial advice.