Most people living in towns or cities never think about the fact that we share common elements with our neighbours, from patios, squares, entrances to garages … and of course, party walls.

  1. What is a party wall?

Expert party wall surveyors in Essex explain that a party wall is a common wall (or walls) that separates two closed properties from different owners. Simple, right? Unfortunately, party walls can usually lead to a lot of problems when the party wall has some kind of problem. It is normal that each of the owners wants the problem to be fixed by the other.

  1. To whom does the party wall belong?

The simple answer is – to both owners of the adjacent properties, equally.

  1. Who has to repair any problems associated with the party wall?

And this is when everything gets complicated. Much depends on the nature of the damage to the party wall, its cause, and if the proper legal protocols have been followed if it is in relation to work recently carried out on the wall.

The need for expert advice

This is where it becomes essential to seek expert and impartial advice. Normally, this is best done by arranging a chartered building surveyor to inspect the party wall and the suspected damage. The surveyor will be able to establish the severity and cause of the problem and then help in resolving any dispute that might have arisen about who is responsible for returning the party wall to good condition.

It is important to stress that if the damage is severe, then the integrity of both properties should be secured as a priority before dealing with other issues, such as who is ultimately to blame, or who must restore the wall to its previous condition.

Once the issue of responsibility has been clarified, it is necessary to evaluate if the problem reveals a serious problem with the structure that should be repaired to avoid the collapse of the wall and, possibly, the two adjoining buildings.

The Party Wall Act (1996) clearly sets out the procedures residents musty follow when any type of work is carried out on a party wall. The surveyor can help establish if the necessary steps have been followed correctly. This has a bearing on who is responsible for rectifying any subsequent damage caused to the wall in question.

If you live in the Chelmsford area and have a dispute about a party wall, your best option is to consult one of the various chartered building surveyors in Chelmsford and seek their opinion on the cause and extent of the damage. And then discuss possible solutions with the other parties involved (the other owner of the party wall).

Acquiring a mortgage to allow you to purchase the house of your dreams is not easy, but it can be done. After all, lots of other people have done it, so why not you? But there’s a big difference between applying for a mortgage and getting approved. Aside from coming up with a good deposit, there are other ways through which you can boost your chances of mortgage approval. Here’s how.

Be more organised with your expenses

As soon as you make the decision to look for that piece of property, you should make an assessment of your income and expenses. This will help you determine how much you really spend per month – on bills, food, clothes, entertainment, and the like. Once you have determined your expenses, you can look for ways to save money by giving up a few expenses which aren’t necessary. Lenders want applicants to have the means to pay back their mortgage, and you should be prepared to answer questions regarding your monthly expenditure. By knowing what you spend, you can answer lenders with more confidence, showing your capacity for being more financially organised as well.

Determine how much you can really pay

Another way to boost your chances is to know how much you can pay. It pays to be realistic, so look for properties that are within your range. Ideally, your monthly repayments shouldn’t exceed 35 to 40% of your income per month. You can take advantage of online affordability calculators as well. One tip: play around with different interest rates so you can see if you can afford the repayment if the rate increases by 1%, 2%, or more.

Check your credit report

An expert mortgage broker will agree that one more factor which can boost your application is your credit report. It’s important to know that your credit report is updated. Lenders will do a background check of your credit report from various agencies, so you can get ahead of the game by knowing what is in store. Checking your credit report has another key advantage: if there is information which is wrong or not up-to-date, you can fix it before the lenders get their hands on your credit report.

Work on your credit rating

Lenders also like borrowers who not only have a high credit score but who have also acquired loans and have been able to pay them back. A good history of credit is ideal. If you have a contract with a broadband or mobile provider, make sure your payments are always on time – lenders will see this as well. It also pays to have a credit card which you regularly use and regularly repay in full.

Since November 5, 2007, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has walked out of work to protest the unfair cut in the profits and potential share in the sales of their works sold in the internet and other media forms. Many popular TV shows have been suspended and some major films have been delayed since writers went to strike to demand a better deal in the share of profits. Unfortunately, the strike also has affected the behind-the-scenes crew, decorators, and other personnel involved in the production.

The writers’ strike has provided a marxist insight of the power relations between the writers and producers of the TV shows and movies. Who holds the key to production? Who really produces the shows and movies?

The common understanding is that the writers are hired by the producers to make a script. According to G. L. Prescott, an expert at managing writers, this is a misunderstanding in how the hiring and management of writers occurs. It is clear in this context who is the employer and worker. However, the recent strike has reconfigured the relations between producers and writers and the concept of capital in the hands and minds of the workers. It may seem that the producers hold the power to produce shows and movies because they have the traditional capital which is money and machines. With the walk out of writers from work, the producers lose the power to produce even though they still have the capital. What is then more important and essential in the production of TV shows and movies? Are the hands and minds of writers more essential in this kind of production?

Production is conventionally in the hands of the moneyed and capitalistic individuals, companies and corporations. Workers are hired and paid to produce what the capitalists want. If the workers do not conform with the desires and plans of the capitalists, they go on strike to show their opposition and assert their roles, worth and consequence of their works in the production. The effectiveness of a strike lies in the unity and common sentiments and understanding of the striking workers on their struggle to change the unfair status quo, make a deal favorable to them, and cause the realization of the capitalists of the workers’ essential presence in the production.

Thus far, the end and resolution of the writers’ strike are nowhere near in sight. There are few writers who were able to make a deal with their producers and now they are back to work. For the many writers still in the picket line, the struggle continues. At least, they have reconfigured the power relations and the concept of capital in this context. And they have proved that the power of production is also in their hands and minds.

Most people who have a great business idea do little about it, even if they research the idea a little deeper and find that it has an excellent chance of doing well. They fail to launch not because they are fickle, timid, or indecisive, but because they don’t know where to get the money they need to start their business.

Often a great business idea and a well-thought-out business plan aren’t enough. Many businesses can’t start on a shoestring budget because they require office space, a multi-talented technical team, and an online business infrastructure. Moreover, it sometimes takes a little time for the sales to start coming in.

Before the financial crash of 2007, it might have been possible to get a small business loan, but since then banks have become nervous about putting their faith in new, untested business ideas launched by new entrepreneurs.

Still, the situation isn’t entirely hopeless. There is still a way for entrepreneurs to get the funding they need to start a business venture, whether it’s based on a proven business model, like opening up an eatery, or a novel business idea, like inventing a new business app.

3 Ways to Raise the Money You Need

You can raise the money you need by starting a fundraising campaign, bootstrapping your company, or asking family and friends.

1. Start a fundraising campaign.

An increasingly popular way of raising money is by launching a fundraising campaign. There are many interesting ways to organize a fundraiser. One idea is to start selling fundraising bricks. You would honor your donors by engraving their names on bricks using a using unique patented laser engraving process.

Another idea is to use a crowd-funding raising site, which will give you a platform to create a digital marketing campaign to raise money from many small supporters.

2. Bootstrap your company.

If you’re starting your business with some partners, you could bootstrap the funds you need. Essentially, everyone would scrape together their personal funds to contribute. For instance, some partners might be able to contribute some money from their saving accounts while others might be able to contribute by liquidating assets.

The upside is that all partners will be highly motivated to ensure that the enterprise is a success because they have some skin in the game. The downside, of course, is that not all partners may be in a position to make a contribution because they simply don’t have the personal resources.

3. Ask family and friends.

Although it can be somewhat embarrassing asking family and friends, many businesses have launched in this way. This, for example, is how Harry Wayne Huizenga, a billionaire who is often considered one of the greatest entrepreneurs in the history of American business, started in business. According to an article about Huizenga in Entrepreneur: “In 1962, at the age of 25, Huizenga started the Southern Sanitation Service by borrowing $5,000 from his father and coaxing a local trash hauler in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, into selling him a used truck and a few accounts.”

From these humble beginnings, Huizinga then went on to found no less than 3 Fortune 500 corporations and owning 3 big league professional sports franchises.

Before asking family and friends for money, however, you need to prepare a comprehensive briefing. This way your request for money is backed up by an explanation about what it is that you’re planning to sell, how much you’re planning to charge, how you will be able to make money, and why your business idea has a good chance of being successful. Also, be clear whether you’re asking for a donation or a loan. If it’s a donation, family and friends will be aware that they may not get any money back, and if it’s a loan, give them some idea of how soon they can get their money back and how much profit it might be reasonable to expect.

In closing, it’s important to note that these are just a few sample ideas on how you can raise money. There are many more. For instance, you might also be able to raise money by using alternative lenders, getting support from the Small Business Administration, finding an angel investor, or getting backing from a venture capital firm.

We all know the fact that the world divides between the developed and developing countries – in which, as less widely known, some of these developing countries fall so far behind in terms of the size and shape of their economies.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which in 1971 had devised a category of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs); as of today, there are 135 of them. Their problems, as reported by the World Economic Forum (WEF), are ‘among the most intractable development challenges facing the international community.”

What’s even more alarming is that only four countries have “graduated” or have progressed from low-income to middle- and upper-income from the LDC status: Botswana in 1994, Cabo Verde in 2007, Maldives in 2011, and Samoa in 2014 – a poor record that had prompted the UN, in 2011, to “establish a dedicated programme of action with the target of enabling at least half of the LDCs to ‘meet the criteria of graduation’ by the end of this decade.”

But despite the challenges, some countries will shed LDC status in the coming years – such as Equatorial Guinea, Vanuatu, and Angola. Meanwhile, others have been found to be “pre-eligible” for graduation – such as Bhutan, Nepal, São Tomé and Principe, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. The great news is that these countries have shown that they have fared better or at least did not go worse.

However, still, these are far from the set target of halving the number of LDCs.

Trade and investments, for many developing countries, is where the progression of status heavily rests – successful trade provides a source of foreign currency to help balance payments, increased employment in export industries, and a way of financing imports. But it has its disadvantages and risks too that pose the following significant challenges.

The economic vulnerability has not diminished significantly.

Many LDCs are highly dependent on commodity exports. As a matter of fact, in a press release of the UNCTAD in October 13, 2017 titled “Commodity Dependence Worsens For Developing Countries”, “nine more developing economies became dependent on commodity exports between 2010 and 2015” – making a total of 91 or about two-thirds of the total number of the developing countries.

Too much commodity dependence can have negative effects on human development indicators such as life expectancy, education, and per capita income.

“…developing countries will struggle to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals unless they break the chains of commodity dependence.”, said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

Also, aside from this, LDCs are heavily exposed to economic and natural shocks like climate change – challenges that cannot be dealt with yet by these countries all by themselves as they are far less equipped and are still unprepared.

A 2014 report from the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre finds that more than nineteen million people around the world were severely affected by the natural disasters. In developing countries where inadequate water supply and sanitation services are compounded by the strikes of natural disasters, lives of billions of people are underscored.

Many countries view “graduation” as a threat rather than an opportunity.

Transitioning from low- to upper-income status means being independent and losing unilateral preferential market access and reduction in aid levels.

Although some countries are already eligible for graduating from the LDC on the grounds of better social indicators and improved economic resilience, their dependence on international trade and investment (i.e., preferential market access) cannot be cut immediately. This is primarily because some serious risks beyond their control might happen anytime which might render them difficulties in a lot of different areas like education and healthcare.

These reasons have made the European Union, in 2008, to offer and extend the “preferential, duty-free, quota-free access” for the LDCs to the EU market for three years after graduation – as part of the preparation to facilitate a smooth transition to post-LDC status.

Besides relying heavily on trade and investments, LDC countries also reap the benefits of foreign aids – that is, from the world’s most developed countries. It was reported that in 2014, three of the world’s economic giants had donated significant amounts, with the United States and Japan contributing both 0.19 percent of their national income. Among other big spenders are United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Luxembourg, and et cetera.

However, while economic assistance is beneficial and is necessary, it could mean a lot of things and has a number of implications. First, other than the willingness to help, “the growing and continuous dependence on external funding means that the beneficiaries of such help are both economically and politically tied to the donors.” Best examples are Japan and China, which don’t like each other for a number of reasons reaching back to World War II, Nanjing massacre, and over territorial disputes – turning countries into something of an economic assistance battleground.