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How to Make Sure Your South Devon Rental Property Is Safe


Many people are under the assumption that being a landlord is an easy ride. Get your tenants in, collect the monthly rent and that’s it, you’re laughing. Sounds like a dream… Unfortunately, it’s far from the truth, as most experienced landlords and agents will tell you.

Unless you’re lucky enough to have long-term tenants, every time a new lot of renters move in, there are lots of checks to be made, forms to sign, letters to send and on it goes.

One thing that should never be ignored or delayed are your annual safety checks. As a landlord, it is your legal duty to ensure your tenants are living in a safe, hazard-free environment.

In this quick read, we look at some of the responsibilities a landlord should always have at the top of their to-do list. Whilst some are legally required on an annual basis, others are recommended.

  • Gas Safety Certificate

Every year, a new Gas Safety Certificate needs to be provided to tenants in either electronic or hard copy form. Officially called a CP12 form, this safety check must be performed by a Gas Safe registered engineer. It’s designed to make sure all gas appliances, pipes and flues within the premises are safe and in good working order.

Make sure you add the date to your diary a few weeks before it’s due to expire so you can get an engineer in before the current certificate expires. Much like an MOT, a gas safety check can be completed two months before the expiry date without shortening the life.

  • Electrical Safety Checks

Landlords must ensure that the electrics within a property (such as sockets and lights) are safe and properly installed. It’s always a good idea to get these checked professionally and to use the services of an NICEIC registered electrician.

Every five years, a landlord must legally provide an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which will confirm if the electrical system is safe. If you provide movable electrical equipment, such as a microwave, kettle or so on, these must be PAT tested (Portable Appliance Test) annually.

  • Fire Safety Checks

Legally, every rented property should be fitted with a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. These should be tested at least once per year, if not more.

If you rent out properties that are furnished, all furniture and upholstery should be fire safe. This is often clearly printed on the label of such items. Tenants should be advised to keep all escape routes clear from obstruction in the event of an emergency – a point to also check during routine landlord inspections. Some rental properties must also have fire extinguishers and other safety equipment to hand – it’s best to check with a local assessor (Fire Risk Assessors (FRA) Register ( if your rental meets requirements.

If you’re a landlord and need help managing your property, please contact our team at Chamberlains. We’re happy to help.


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What Happens When Your South Devon Rental is Being Sold

rental property

As a tenant living in a rental property, you need to be aware of your rights. Fortunately, due to recent reforms in legislation, you’re now more protected than ever when it comes to matters of eviction and deposits. But what if your landlord tells you they’re planning to sell the property where you live?

First things first, don’t panic. If you’ve signed a tenancy agreement, your landlord must stick to it, even if they’re planning to sell the property.

In this quick read, we look at some questions you might have if your landlord decides to sell.

Will I be evicted?

While there isn’t a straightforward answer to this question, you can’t be evicted just because a landlord is selling. Instead, landlords must follow a set protocol.

If you’re within your contract period, there are no legal grounds for the landlord to evict you (unless you have breached your contract).

If your contract has a break clause, they must give you two months’ notice before the clause date, or two months’ notice before the end of the tenancy.

However, if your fixed contract has run out or you’re on a rolling contract, you should be given two months’ notice if the landlord wants you to leave.

Do I have to allow access to the property for viewings?

You must be informed at least 24 hours in advance of a viewing, and it must be at a reasonable time. Try and agree the viewing appointment for a time that’s convenient for everyone.

Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance when my rental address is on sale?

Your landlord is legally responsible for all repair and maintenance issues whilst they own the property. This does not change, even whilst the property is on the market.

What happens once the property has been sold?

If you’re within your contract period, then nothing should change apart from the landlord. You can carry on living in the property as per the terms of your tenancy agreement.

The new landlord should contact you within two months to advise you of the change of ownership and provide their name and contact details. They may want to carry out safety checks to ensure the property is fully compliant. Your original deposit will be transferred to the new landlord, and they should let you know which tenancy deposit scheme they are using.

If you’re looking for a new rental property, please get in touch with our lettings team at Chamberlains.

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Act Now to Stop South Devon Landlords Leaving the Private Rental Sector


Property industry figures are calling for action to prevent a critical shortage of rental stock in the buy-to-let sector. They say that unless the government acts, there will be an exodus of landlords from the private rental market. Such a scenario would reduce the number of properties available to rent – making it even tougher for tenants to find a decent place to live – and drive up the cost of renting.

Renters and landlords feel the squeeze

Landlords sold up in their droves last year, with 70,000 exiting the buy-to-let sector in 12 months.*

At the same time, rents increased, with prices in 48 council areas now classified as unaffordable when compared with average wages.**

So if rents are going up and not down, why are landlords quitting the market? Many BTL investors are struggling due to rising interest rates, increased red tape and changes to the tax system. They just can’t make the sums work, so they’re walking away from the sector.

And what is the long-term impact of such a trend? Fewer landlords mean fewer rental properties. So, if you’re not in a position to buy your own property (and with mortgage costs the way they are, fewer people can), then your options are reduced.

Tenants are a diverse bunch, ranging from students and recent graduates to families and people in their sixties and seventies. A dramatic change in the structure of the housing sector would only create an even greater imbalance and leave tenants more exposed.

Petition calls for change

Midlands landlord Simon Foster has started a petition demanding the reinstatement of tax relief for landlords (this type of relief was scrapped by the Cameron government).

The petition calls “for landlords to be allowed to offset the full amount of mortgage interest against rental income before tax is calculated”. Such a measure would mean landlords are taxed on their profits, not their turnover, and slow down the decline in landlord numbers.

More than 31,000 people have already signed the petition, which has been backed by industry figures, including Maxine Fothergill. If 100,000 people sign, the issue will be debated by MPs in Parliament.

If you would like to sign the petition, you’ll find it here:

From all of us here at Chamberlains, thanks for reading.

2023 Copyright – Estate Agent Content Club – Permission to share granted.

* Accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young

** Office for National Statistics


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Why Chamberlains Are Your Best Friends in an Unstable Housing Market


One minute, the housing market is at an all-time high, the next, newspapers are warning it will plunge faster than a block of concrete in a swimming pool. Finance bods and property experts love to talk up a crisis, but what’s the reality for those wanting to sell?

Well, it’s quite simple: the best way to sell your property in the current market is to bag yourself a trusted, reliable estate agent to do the hard work for you.

In this quick read, we look at reasons why having a good estate agent makes all the difference when selling your property.

Realistic valuations

The first thing you need to know when selling your home is how much it’s actually worth. Yes, you can do your own research using sites like Rightmove or Zoopla, but there’s nothing quite like hiring an expert to know exactly where you stand.

A house that was worth £400,000 in a strong market could be valued at considerably less in a down market, so it’s worth getting an agent round to value your property.

Sound advice

When you work with an experienced agent, their advice could help you save money. For example, they can help you understand how long a sale may take, what the local market is like and what buyers are looking for. All these tiny nuggets of info can help you to make a more informed decision about whether to sell ASAP or to hold out.

If you’re looking for a quick sale, your agent can help target your property to potential buyers by advising what works need to be done, whether you need to reduce the asking price and so on.


Do you think your agent just sticks fancy photos of your property online and waits for their phones to start ringing? The good ones do much more than that. They’ll also have a list of potential buyers that they’ll be emailing and calling to discuss your property.

In an uncertain market, getting viewings is imperative to avoid your property becoming stuck in a no-sale limbo, forcing you to reduce the price repeatedly or take it off the market completely. A top estate agent will be marketing your home online, over the phone and face to face, helping you to sell.


  • Agents are expert negotiators, which is vital in the current climate.
  • In an unstable market, agents will be working harder than ever to sell.
  • They can help move a sale along by talking to the other professionals in your team, such as mortgage brokers or conveyancers.
  • An experienced agent will have worked through many market ups and downs and know how to navigate the changing tides.

If you’re looking to sell your home, give Chamberlains a call today, we’re here to help.



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Weird and Wonderful Ways the World Celebrates NYE


Whether you’re planning a big night out, popping open the champers in front of the TV or having an early night, New Year’s Eve is all about having a good time any way you want.

From fireworks to group singsongs, late bedtimes for kids and lie-ins for sore heads the next day, the UK loves a celebration. But while we clasp hands and sing an out-of-tune rendition of Auld Lang Syne, how does the rest of the world celebrate the new year?

In this quick read, we look at some of the ways people will bring in 2023 around the globe.

South America

Have you got a pair of lucky pants? Well, if you live in Mexico, Brazil or Bolivia, NYE is the day/night to put your fave undies on to determine your fortune for the year ahead. Those hoping for a bit of wealth should wear yellow pants, while others hoping to find love need to don a pair of red knickers. White pants are all about inner peace and calm.


At the stroke of midnight, many Spanish people will chow down on grapes – 12 to be exact. The aim is to eat the grapes before the clock stops chiming so you can enjoy a lucky year ahead. If you don’t finish the grapes before the last chime, you might as well go to bed as tradition states you won’t have a good year to come.


While we know our Greek friends like to smash plates at weddings, it’s also a New Year tradition for folks in Denmark. They smash plates outside the homes of friends, family and other loved ones to bring luck. The more smashed ceramics someone has outside their home the next morning, the more luck they will have.

Some Danish people also jump off chairs at the stroke of midnight, literally leaping into the new year.


There are lots of weird and wonderful traditions carried out by Italians, and one of the strangest is in Naples, where people throw furniture out the window or off the balcony. Most people stick to soft furnishings (thank goodness), as hurling them out of the home symbolises starting afresh for the next 12 months.


You can’t start your NYE celebrations in Greece until you’ve hung a string of onions outside your house. Onions are ancient symbols of fertility as they’ll sprout new roots if they don’t make it into your curry or salad. So, hanging onions represents rebirth and starting afresh for the new year.

Happy New Year to all our readers from the team at Chamberlains! 

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Are Mortgage Overpayments Good or Bad?


Mortgages are dull. Let’s be honest. They’re huge commitments, they’re complicated to arrange and in the current climate, it’s understandable if the thought of a mortgage gets you a bit jittery.

Putting rising interest rates to one side (easier said than done) and ignoring the doom and gloom news we’ve been exposed to over the last few months, it’s time to talk about mortgage overpayments.

What are they? Are they a good or bad thing?

In this four-minute read, we explain the ins and outs of overpayments.

(Note: This isn’t financial advice, and if you’re thinking about making overpayments you should speak to your lender or a financial adviser in the first instance.)

What is a mortgage overpayment?

In simple terms, it’s paying more than your contracted monthly mortgage payment. So, if you have a mortgage of £1,500 per month, and you pay £2,000, you’ve made a £500 overpayment. Simples.

You can make a one-off lump sum payment or regular overpayments.

Can you make overpayments on any mortgage?

Some lenders are happy for you to make as many overpayments as you like, whilst others may cap the annual overpayment percentage. It’s important to find out what category your mortgage falls into, as you could be charged a penalty for going over the limit.

The benefits of overpaying a mortgage might not be as great if you have an interest-only deal. If you have a repayment mortgage (where you’re paying the capital and interest) then overpayments will reduce the mortgage balance (i.e. the loan on the property itself). With an interest-only mortgage, overpayments reduce your future interest payments, however, you’ll still owe the original sum you borrowed to purchase the property.

What are the benefits of overpayments?

An overpayment now means you’re saving money in the future, as you’re effectively reducing the debt and the interest on the amount you borrowed to buy your property. So, as the big supermarket says: every little helps.

By making overpayments, you’re also increasing the equity in your home as you’ll own more of it than you would by making your contracted monthly payment. And every overpayment is a tiny step closer to being mortgage-free.

What are the disadvantages of overpayments?

It may mean you have less cash to hand for that rainy day. By using your savings to overpay a mortgage you could leave yourself financially vulnerable if something unexpected occurs, such as job loss or illness.

Other debts you might have (such as credit cards) are far more expensive, so it makes more sense to pay them off before considering mortgage overpayments.

If you’re considering making an overpayment, always speak to an expert first. They can help you decide what the best course of action is for your individual financial situation.

At Chamberlains, we can’t promise you a cheap mortgage deal, but we can promise to put you in touch with fee free, brilliant mortgage advisers


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Changing Property Trends: What Buyers Really Want


If you’re looking to market your home, read on to find out what’s hot and what’s not in the property world.

Forget trend forecasters and property commentators; if it’s insight into housing trends that you want, turn your attention to estate agents.

As agents spend so much time looking around people’s homes, they have their finger on the pulse when it comes to changing property tastes.

And they use this knowledge when they write the marketing descriptions that you see on property portals. These are designed to show a home at its best and attract suitable buyers.

Now, Rightmove has analysed the marketing material that appears on its website by looking closely at the features most commonly listed by estate agents. The results reveal the changing preferences and priorities of Brits in 2022.

First, let’s look at the key phrases that have skyrocketed in use over the past decade and those that have waned in popularity.

What’s in

Garden office, up 1,046%

Bi-fold doors, up 589%

Orangery, up 173%

Underfloor heating, up 114%

Summerhouse, up 90%

Open plan, up 74%

What’s out

Conservatory, down 52%

Greenhouse, down 46%

Fitted wardrobes, down 29%

Dining room, down 28%

Covid impact

The pandemic radically changed what many people want in a home. With more of us working remotely at least some of the time, home buyers are looking for a property that can cater to their work needs (hence the dramatic jump in the use of ‘garden office’).

Flexible spaces

The research suggests that buyers want spaces that can adapt to their needs, hence the popularity of ‘bi-fold doors’ (up 589%). These provide a separation between home and garden when closed but a free-flowing indoor-outdoor space when open.

It’s also interesting to note the rise of orangeries and summerhouses at the expense of conservatories and greenhouses. Orangeries and summerhouses can quite easily serve as an office during the week and an entertainment space on the weekend. However, conservatories can be too cold to work in through the winter months, while greenhouses only make great workspaces if you’re a gardener. 

Casual living

While ‘open plan’ has become an increasingly popular selling point, dining rooms are on a downer. Could this be because we now favour casual get-togethers over formal dinner parties?

Environmental factors

The analysis found that, in the past year, listings mentioning ‘electric car charging points’ jumped up 495% – a clear sign of growing environmental awareness.

What are your biggest property must-haves? Garden office? Open-plan kitchen or how about a hot tub? Get in touch with us on social media and let us know. Click here to go to our Facebook Page


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What Homeowners Should Know Before Insulating Their Property


Get it right, and insulation can add value to your home. Get it wrong, and it could be difficult to get a mortgage for your property. Read on to find out why.

With energy prices sky-high and global warming a pressing issue, many homeowners are looking to insulate their homes.

While there are many benefits associated with insulation, one issue you should consider before committing to work at your property relates to a product called polyurethane foam, also known as spray foam. It is power-sprayed in liquid form, often in lofts and walls, where it then expands and sets.

Spray foam has been on the market for decades, and because it is relatively quick to install and can be used in hard-to-reach places, it is in hundreds of thousands of homes in the UK.

However, because of the problems associated with it, many lenders will not approve a mortgage on a property with spray foam (especially in the roof). Let us explain why.

The two most common types of spray foam are:

Closed cell: this is rigid when it sets and has high insulation values. However, because it blocks moisture, it can cause condensation. This can lead to wooden beams decaying.

Open cell: this has a soft and flexible texture when set. It’s less dense than closed cell spray, so you need more of it. However, it is permeable to vapour.

Given the potential for things to go awry, great care is needed during the installation process. However, Alan Milstein, Chairman of the Residential Property Surveyors Association (RPSA), says many spray foam installations are “poorly executed and without proper consideration of moisture management within the property, leaving structural roof timbers at risk of damage or failure.”

As a result, the RPSA’s guidance to surveyors is to “recommend removal of spray foam insulation in every property they visit”.

Issues have also been raised surrounding cold-calling of vulnerable homeowners and mis-selling.

Homeowners left in a tight spot

Often, homeowners are unaware of the problems associated with spray foam until they try to sell up and discover that lenders are unwilling to provide a mortgage for their property.

Their only resort is to remove the spray foam, a process that can cost thousands of pounds – sometimes more than the original installation costs. There’s also a risk that you discover major issues with rotting beams when the foam comes out.

Demands for tighter regulation

The RPSA, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and the Property Care Association are calling for greater regulation of the spray foam insulation industry. While this is yet to happen, homeowners are warned to never agree to installation at short notice or under duress, and to carefully consider the ramifications on their property’s mortgageability before they act.

From all of us here at Chamberlains, thanks for reading.


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Guide to Coping with the Cost of Living

cost of living

It’s a challenging time for many of us, some more than others. As a local company, we feel it’s important to do something positive for those in our community struggling with this current situation.

In this free downloadable guide, we’ll share some tips and advice we’ve researched.

We’ve created this guide in an easy-to-follow format.

Each section focuses on things that can be done in the areas of energy costs, food bills, home expenses, and how we can take care of our wellbeing and not just our money.

I hope you find this guide helpful, and please get in touch with us if you have tips, techniques or ideas on how to make people’s money go further.

Thank you for your time, and rest assured, things will get better. They always do.

Click here to download your free guide to coping with the cost of living

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Are You Putting Your Rental Investment at Risk?


There’s a lot to think about when you are a landlord.

You’ve got the ever-changing rules around rental property to consider.

Then there’s ensuring your property is well maintained and your tenants are happy.

Add to that the cost of living crisis, pressures on the economy and political instability, and you could be forgiven for thinking, ‘what’s the point?’.

But before you sell up, let’s look at your alternatives.

We believe that the best way a landlord in South Devon can run successful rental property portfolios is to

work with an experienced, knowledgeable and conscientious letting agent.

Now, more than ever, landlords must know what they are doing and have access to expert advice.

Below is an example of what can happen when that doesn’t take place and how much it can potentially cost a landlord.

The wrong (and right) way to find ideal tenants

Mr Smith is a landlord. He has marketed his property himself, putting it on a local Facebook group. He rented it to the person willing to pay the highest monthly amount.

Mr Smith didn’t bother with references as the person paid a deposit, and he also ‘saved’ himself money by using an online tenancy agreement template.

What Mr Smith didn’t realise was that he limited his number of potentially suitable tenants by only marketing in one place. He also didn’t check his tenant’s background and employment status.

If he had, he would have realised his tenant has a track record of falling behind with their rent, leaving properties in bad condition and generally being problematic.

Now, we must stress most tenants are responsible and reliable.

But by cutting corners to save a few quid, Mr Smith has potentially cost himself thousands of pounds in lost rent, the cost of court proceedings and damage to his property.

A good letting agent would have marketed his property across multiple platforms to showcase it in its best possible light and to the widest possible audience.

This creates demand for the property and gives Mr Smith several suitable tenants to choose from.

A good letting agent would then advise Mr Smith on the most suitable tenants (not just someone willing to pay the highest rent). Then, stringent referencing checks covering employment, rental history and financial backgrounds would ensure the risk of the tenancy turning sour is dramatically reduced.

Not only that, but once a tenant is in place, a good letting agent can manage the maintenance and repairs of a property so that small issues don’t become big, costly problems. Again, saving a landlord thousands.

We believe the key to unlocking your rental property’s potential (and saving you time, money and hassle) is working with an agency like us, now, more than ever.

So, if you are a landlord who wants to do things the right way, contact us today.