And the Winner is ……………….


We attended the Exmouth Chamber of Commerce Business Awards on Friday Night at Ocean – a fantastic seafront location with the most stunning views. Why did we go? 2 reasons – we were nominated for the Professional Services Award 2017, shortlisted down to the final 3. We also sponsored the Best Small Business Award too

We’re so proud to tell you that we won! To win for the second year running is a fantastic achievement and it’s really special to receive such recognition in Exmouth Town and be nominated for the Professional Services

The four businesses that we sponsored were

Victoria James Estate Agents, The Cake Lady, I NOVA eyelash studio, Accounting on Us

The winner was Helen Buck, Accounting on Us.  Congratulations to Helen and Well done to all Finalists

Renting Minefield!

Extremely informative evening at Flybe Academy – The Renting Minefield – a “no brainer” for Self Managing Landlords.  Bucketfuls of really useful nuggets of knowledge and the low down on the latest legislation.  Organised by Exeter City Council and ARLA.  We’ll keep you posted on the date for the next Event – and guess what ….. it’s FREE for Landlords!

The Landlord’s Guide to Filling Up Your Pockets

The Landlord’s Guide to Filling Up Your Pockets

Whatever line you’re in, it’s getting more and more difficult to hang on to what you earn. With the ever changing landscape for Landlords, it’s no wonder that people are nervous about what the future might bring, especially with the big tax changes that are hitting Landlords and the restrictions on reliefs and allowances

One thing’s for sure – it PAYS to be ahead of the game, stay on top and make sure that your investment is performs at its best. Consistently

When was the last time that you had a complete review of your Investment?

When I say “complete review”, there’s several topics here that I’m talking about

Why not take the time to review the performance of your rental property and look at ways how to keep a hold of your income?

To start with, here are three key areas for you to focus on:-

1 Check your Mortgage Deal

If you’ve not reviewed your existing mortgage lately, you might be paying over the odds. Switching your mortgage product and moving to a new lender could save you a sizeable sum. You might even consider renegotiating a deal with your existing lender. Check when your fixed or discounted rate is coming to an end.  Nothing beats doing the numbers and the savings can be significant!

2 Book a Tax Review

There are BIG tax changes hitting Landlords and it’s highly recommended you talk to a tax expert to see what this means for you. Almost a third of Landlords are unaware of the changes but 70% will be affected!  Almost half a million landlords are now forced into the higher tax bracket by paying tax on turnover, rather than profit. With the tax landscape changing for Landlords, restrictions on Mortgage Interest Relief, Wear & Tear Allowance and Higher Rate Stamp Duty Land Tax, a Tax Expert can show you exactly what you need to do to stay on top of your game

3 Review your Energy Performance Certificate

Yes, there’s more changes ahead with regard to energy efficiency in the rental sector. By 2018, it will be illegal to offer a property to let unless the EPC rating meets an E rating or above. If your rental property has a rating of F or G, you need to consider ways in which you can improve the specification. Talk to an Energy Assessor and ask advice on which steps you can take to meet the required rating. It is proposed that by 2020, the minimum rating of E will apply to existing tenancies. Of course, some exemptions will apply to listed buildings or for properties where the cost of works would devalue the property.   Suggestions have also been made to increase the minimum rating to D in 2025 and then again to C by 2030.

You can download the Energy Performance Certificate for your property at by entering the post code


Some More Ways to Hang On To Your Hard Earned Cash!

I think it’s true to say that we’d all rather not spend time reading small print but when you’re renting a property to a tenant, this is the MOST important aspect – it’s the attention to detail that’s going to save you time & money – before, during and after the Tenancy has ended


The Importance of an Inventory

By having a signed Inventory in your possession from day 1, you’ll avoid loss of time and money in the event of a claim or dispute at the end of the Tenancy. Your Inventory is your evidence – it’s a true and fair statement of contents and condition of how the property was handed over to the tenant. The more information on your Inventory, the better.

As with a Tenancy Agreement, it’s an excellent idea to have an Inventory professionally prepared – I guarantee it will be worth every penny if things go pear shaped!

Talking of Tenancy Agreements…

When was the last time you reviewed the rent? You may only increase the rent every twelve months but often time rolls by and before you know it, two years have passed by and the rental value has moved on and you’ve lost income

If you’ve a tenancy that’s been running for some time and you’ve put in place a rent increase, it’s well worth renewing the Tenancy to reflect the new rental amount whilst also looking at the term of the Tenancy. Think about the term you are offering, your future plans and the financial security you’re seeking

Management Visits

When was the last time you or your Agent made a visit to the property?

You might be thinking that you don’t need to – the rent comes in on time, your tenants never bother you.

Think again. Ever thought that maybe your tenants don’t want you to visit? How will you know the condition of the property if you or your Agent don’t make regular visits? Have they gained a pet? They may even by sub-letting. Without regular visits, you won’t know what’s really going on


Remember, regular visits can also prevent deposit disputes. A dispute at the end of a Tenancy can be extremely time consuming, upsetting and stressful. If you can pick up a problem mid Tenancy, it’s far easier to rectify than trying to deal with something that’s had time to escalate

Protect what you’ve got coming in

You might want to think about Rent & Legal Cover if you’ve not got it in place. Peace of mind which will keep your money coming in if your Tenant doesn’t pay the rent

Tenancy Health Check

At Stocks, we offer a FREE Tenancy Health Check – all you need to do is gather your paperwork together and book a call with me at a time that suits you – easy!

Call me on 01395 222365 to discuss ways to have more money in your pocket!




The Lowdown on Electrical Periodic Inspections (and Why YOU Need Them)

Safety in the home is a MUST, and as a Landlord, you must ensure that your tenant(s) – or anyone entering or using your property, are not put at risk, by making sure that the electrical installation remains in a safe and serviceable condition. A Periodic Inspection checks the state of an existing electrical inspection against BS7671, the UK Standard for the safety of electrical installations.


So with this in mind, it’s important to look at how periodic inspections can guarantee the safety of your home electrics.


Electrical installations, like most things, have a lifespan. Usage and age are just two factors that can contribute to deterioration. Periodic inspections highlight these issues so that you can ensure your home is safe. By inspecting and testing your electrical inspections periodically, you’re ensuring they’re in full working order. They’re great for peace of mind. After an inspection, you’ll know what work needs to be carried out on your property to get the electrics back to tip-top condition.


What’s involved in a periodic inspection?


  • Discovering if there are any fire hazards or potential shock risks
  • Looking for lack of bonding or earthing
  • Inspecting to see if equipment/electrical circuits are overloaded
  • Finding out it if there’s any substandard electrical work
  • Tests on fixed/wiring electrical equipment are also carried out to ensure everything is safe.


How often do I need a periodic inspection?


  • If you own your home you need to make sure your electrics are inspected (and tested) every ten years
  • Caravans need to have an inspection every three years
  • If you rent your home, a periodic inspection needs to be carried out every five years
  • Swimming pools need to be checked out yearly


Also, before you buy, sell or rent your home, an inspection is required. So there’s no excuse! What cost would you put on the safety of your family?


What will I be given after my inspection?


You’ll get an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report.) This will report on all the potential dangers that have been found in your home. For example, it will cover deterioration, non-compliances and damage. You’ll know exactly what work needs to be carried out on your home to make sure it’s the haven you want it to be!


Who should complete your inspection?


It’s important that a periodic inspection is done by an ‘electrically competent person’. However, we’d suggest you employ a ‘registered’ electrician. Asking to see an electrician’s credentials is a good move, and here at Stocks, we’re always happy to show our Contractor’s qualifications!


What happens if my home doesn’t pass the periodic inspection?


If potential electrical dangers are found in your home, the inspection findings will be deemed unsatisfactory. You’ll be informed if this is the case, and you’ll need to get the work done ASAP to ensure your home.


is a safe place. It’s worth getting two or three quotes to consider from a NIC EIC Registered Electrician.


Call us on 01395 222365 if you’d like more information.

LANDLORDS – 3 Things You Need to Know about EPC’s

The Latest on EPC Ratings & The Changes Ahead – Here’s what you need to know :-


Since legislation came into force, there has always been a lot of discussion regarding the reasons behind the requirement for Energy Performance Certificates.


1. Serve Your Tenants with an EPC


The De-Regulation Act October 2015 enforces that we must formally serve a copy of the EPC to each and every tenant PRIOR to the beginning of a Tenancy. The consequence of non compliance results in any Notice for Possession being void throughout the term.


2. Tenant’s Rights


As from April 2016, a tenant is entitled to ask the Landlord to carry out the measures recommended on the certificate and the landlord has a legal obligation to do so.


3. Minimum Rating


By 2018, it will be illegal to offer a property to let (or for sale) unless we have raised the EPC rating to E or above wherever possible according to the Energy Assessor’s recommendations on the EPC.


If your rental property has a rating of F or G, you need to look at ways in which you can improve the specification to meet the required rating.


It is proposed that by 2020, the minimum rating of E will apply to existing tenancies. Of course, some exemptions will apply i.e. listed buildings & bedsits or in the event where the cost of works would devalue the property by at least 5%, would be classed as exempt.


In addition to the above, suggestions have been made to increase the minimum rating to a D in 2025 and then again to C by 2030.

Are you battling with condensation?






Here’s 12 Top Tips to help you combat condensation in the home :-



If you have a washing machine or tumble dryer in your property, ensure that it is vented correctly. From just one load of washing two litres of water is emitted into the air.


If possible, dry clothes outdoors to prevent excess moisture escaping into your property. If you live in a flat this might not be possible so always open your doors or windows if you really need to dry clothes indoors rooms.


When boiling a kettle, taking a shower or cooking, ensure that your kitchen and bathroom doors are kept closed to prevent steam going into colder rooms which will cause condensation.


Cover your pans with a lid when cooking to reduce moisture. Also ensure that you have opened a window or you are using an extractor fan if you have one fitted. Don’t turn off the extractor fan or close the window as soon as you finish cooking – leave it open for 15-20 minutes afterwards to clear the air.


Similar to when cooking in the kitchen, when you are taking a shower or a bath ensure that you turn on an extractor fan or open a window to get rid of the steam that is created when running warm water in a cold environment. This will help reduce the amount of condensation that appears on your bathroom windows but won’t eliminate the problem.


Both pets and plants produce moisture. Make sure you cover fish tanks and if you are suffering from excess condensation look to move your plants outdoors.


If you don’t have an extractor fan in your bathroom or kitchen then make sure that your tenants wipe down the surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen when they have been cooking or taking a shower. Excess moisture will quickly turn to mould which is difficult to completely remove.


Do not overfill bedroom wardrobes and kitchen cupboards. Overfilled cupboards are a breeding ground for mould as the air is not able to circulate freely inside.


For the same reason as above, make sure that any furniture is at least 50mm away from the surrounding walls so that air can move around the property. Also try to put wardrobes against internal walls in bedrooms; this will be less cold than external walls.


Ensure an adequate amount of heating is available in your property to improve the internal temperature of surfaces and reduce the likelihood of condensation.


If you use a room on a regular basis, such as a living room, open a window slightly to improve the ventilation in the room. Breathing is a major cause of condensation so this will help to improve the ventilation in your property.


Double glazing, loft insulation and draft proofing will help to reduce the amount of heat that is lost from a property. Installing insulation will also help to keep the temperature of the surfaces inside the property high.

What about Pets?

Landlord : I’m undecided whether to allow pets in the property, what do I do if they cause damage?


Agent : It depends what sort of pets you allow. You may want to consider asking for a larger deposit, agreeing on a de-flea treatment and steam clean throughout on vacation.  Regular visits to the property are recommended and it’s good to remember that as long as the necessary measures are taken, families with pets may well settle and be great long term tenants for you.  Some pets even come along with their own references!

Landlord’s – Preparing your Property for Rent

Letting out your property? Need some sound advice regarding your obligations as a Landlord? You can avoid common mistakes by making sure your offering is watertight and compliant with regulations.

There are many points to consider when preparing a property to rent, the most important area being Safety. Landlords and Agents are legally bound to comply fully with all current legislation and provide tenants with a safe and secure home.


Here’s what you need to know :- You MUST arrange for a Gas Safety Inspection before you hand over keys and provide your tenant with a copy of the Certificate, an annual Electrical Inspection is highly recommended along with a Legionella Risk Assessment. It’s also recommended that you arrange for an annual service of the boiler and any other appliances at your property and provide instruction manuals whenever possible. Penalties for non-compliance by Landlords are severe. An experienced Letting Agent can furnish you with full details on regulations and give you peace of mind in the world of Residential Lettings which potentially can be a legal minefield!


Every rental property must have a smoke detector on each floor and a carbon monoxide detector where there is a solid fuel appliance – each alarm has to be tested on the day that your tenant moves in to make certain they are in good working order and indeed between each Tenancy.


Its wise to remove all valuables or any sentimental items from the property prior to marketing and if you are providing a furnished property, ensure that the furnishings comply with fire regulations.


Take some time to look at the garden and think about what level of work needs to be carried out, prior to the start of the Tenancy, in order for it to be maintained by your tenants. It may be if your garden is sizeable, you may consider redesigning part of it so that is more practical for your tenants to look after. Any overgrown trees or hedges will certainly require attention, as will creepers or other fast growing shrubs. Clear the gutters and remove any rubbish from the property.


Pay good attention to the security of the property – check over locks to all doors, bolts, padlocks, window locks to make sure they’re all in good working order and make certain that you have enough keys cut. Walk around the boundary – are the fences/posts/gate secure?


Its important to look at the ventilation of the property to avoid any condensation/mould problems occurring – a cooker hood/extractor fan in the kitchen is effective and a fan with a run on timer works well in the bathroom. Did you know that four people living in a 3 bedroom property would create 112 pints of moisture a week from just breathing,cooking, showering and boiling the kettle?


If you’re thinking of redecoration, choose neutral colours & freshen up carpets with a professional clean. Provide curtain rails/tracks/poles or blinds for your tenants and some picture hooks, this will deter any unwanted drilled holes at the end of the tenancy.


To protect you from any disputes at the end of the Tenancy, give some thought to having an Inventory professionally prepared by a Professional Letting Agent or Inventory Clerk . An Inventory is a detailed schedule of contents and condition of fixtures, fittings and decorations, including walls, carpets and any equipment. The Inventory should be supported with photographs as well as an overview of the garden and outdoor vicinities. All defects must be carefully noted. Its an extremely important document and actually creates part of the Tenancy to which both parties are agreeing to.


The more “ground work” and preparation undertaken prior to your tenants moving in, the smoother the Tenancy will run. Remember – a well presented and maintained property will achieve a healthy rent as well as attracting long term tenants, helping to ensure that your investment is performing well for you and void periods minimised whenever possible.