Tenant fees ban is now in force

14th June 2019

The Government’s ban on letting agent fees is now in force. Sukhi Mills, solicitor from our Exeter office, tells us more about what this means for tenants and landlords.

This news has been welcomed by millions of people across the UK as a fairer system for tenants. As of 1st June 2019, anyone entering into a new tenancy agreement or renewing an existing one cannot be charged for ‘unfair fees’ including credit checks, referencing, inventories, guarantor forms or administration charges.

Any landlords or agents charging these fees are now breaking the law and could face serious penalties, incurring fines of up to £5,000 for a first offence. If they break the rules again within five years, they face an unlimited fine. Read more…

Ottery St Mary Pixie Day

14th June 2019

The annual Ottery St Mary Pixie Day will be taking place on Saturday 22nd June and Gilbert Stephens Solicitors are pleased to continue supporting this event. Pixie Day is an annual fixture in the Ottery St Mary calendar and is a tradition revived in 1954, dating back to events which are said to have occurred five hundred years prior.

Legend has it that the town was once occupied by pixies, but they were ousted by the building of the Church and the (to them intolerable) noise of the Church bells. Since then the town has become enchanted with the possibility of the return of the pixies. Once a year, children from the Guides and Scouts of the town enact this by playing the part of the Pixies, who inflict their revenge on the community by ‘imprisoning’ the bell ringers.

Pixie Day will consist of an afternoon fete with stalls and entertainment before the main event, the ‘Pixies’ Revenge’, which takes place in the town square followed by an evening of food and entertainment. In previous years this entertainment has included displays of Morris dancing, a coconut shy, tombola and skittles.

Pixie Day along with the Ottery St Mary Tar Barrels in November, are two signature events during which the rich history and mythology of the town is celebrated, bringing local children and the activities of the Guides and Scouts to the fore. Gilbert Stephens understands how significant this event is to the fabric of the local community and is pleased to be a part of its continued success.

Acknowledging the importance of this annual event, Terry Bastyan, Managing Partner at Gilbert Stephens Solicitors, notes that “Pixie Day is more than just an opportunity for a party, it is an important day in the Ottery St Mary calendar. Pixie Day brings together residents both young and old, whilst recognising the rich traditions of the town. We are proud to continue supporting this event and look forward to another successful day of celebration and entertainment”.

We will be giving out balloons in the square, so come along and see us!

You can find out more about Pixie Day on the Ottery St Mary Info website.

Ottery Help Scheme Fundraising Event

13th June 2019

At Gilbert Stephens Solicitors we are committed to supporting local charities and good causes. On Tuesday 28th May, we were very happy to be able to support the incredible work of the Ottery Help Scheme at their Fundraising event held at the magnificent gardens of Cadhay House in Ottery St Mary between 10am – 2pm.

It was the perfect day for the half term family fun event, which attracted young families and locals alike, wishing to enjoy the fun while raising some money for the charity. The day included a delicious BBQ, stalls with homemade cakes, cream teas and other sweet treats. There were two bouncy castles that were very popular with the children as well as face painting and crafts for all the family.

Dana Mulligan, Marketing Manager at Gilbert Stephens Solicitors represented the firm handing out goodies and green Gilbert Stephens flags to the children.

The event was organised and run by Ottery Help Scheme which was founded in 1992 to provide much needed support to local residents who are experiencing times of illness, periods of difficulty, or life-changing circumstances through uniting and mobilising the goodwill of the community.

It was great to see that many local businesses, including ourselves, contributed a prize for the Tombola. We donated a Cream Tea for 2 at The Clock Tower in Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth. Hopefully this will be enjoyed during the coming summer months.

The entry fee was £1 for adults and 50p for children and all proceeds made on the day went to the Ottery Help Scheme.

Dana Mulligan said, “It was a privilege to see such strong community spirit and we hope that this event has helped to raise both awareness and funds, as the charity continues to go from strength to strength, offering more and more necessary services in response to the community need.”

Retirement interest-only mortgages (RIOs)

12th June 2019

There are many different mortgage options for homeowners to make the most out of the money tied up in their property. Hayley Martin-Herkt, Mortgage Adviser from Gilbert Stephens Financial Services, talks us through the retirement interest-only mortgage option.

Retirement interest-only mortgages (RIOs) are a relatively new set of products designed to help older borrowers who may struggle to get a standard residential mortgage. They allow you to borrow against your property and only pay back the interest (and not the loan itself) each month.

RIOs are very similar to standard interest-only mortgages but there are some key differences. Read more…

Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club hit the beach!

4th June 2019

It was an exciting weekend on Sidmouth beach, as the Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club hit the beach for their first outdoor training session of the season on Saturday 11th May 2019. The club members and their coaches moved from the swimming pool to the waves to test out the skills they had been learning.

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors are proud sponsors of Sidmouth Surf Life Saving Club and have recently provided their new 2019 kit for the club members. The club gives young people in Sidmouth and the surrounding areas an opportunity to learn safety skills, improve fitness and enjoy fun activities and competitions in a supported, social environment. Read more…

What is a lifetime mortgage?

4th June 2019

Hayley Martin-Herkt from Gilbert Stephens Financial Services tells us about the options for lifetime mortgages.

A lifetime mortgage is a type of equity release and can be a major component of planning for the future. It is a popular way to access tax-free money that is tied up in your home, be releasing some of the equity as either a cash lump sum or a regular income over a fixed term.

This allows you to enjoy some of your hard-earned money that would otherwise be tied up in your property. Some people take out a lifetime mortgage to fulfil a lifelong dream, invest in home improvements or just to make life that little bit more comfortable financially. Read more…

Budleigh Salterton Scarecrow Festival

3rd June 2019

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors are proud to be a part of the East Budleigh Scarecrow Festival again this year. Friends of All Saints Church are once again coordinating the famous Scarecrow Festival. Over the two days, a variety of events will take place around the village to raise funds to maintain the church and churchyard. Read more…

Crediton Parish Church Flower Festival

31st May 2019

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors are proud to be sponsors of the Crediton Parish Church Flower Festival from Saturday 1st – Thursday 6th June 2019. Crediton Parish Church will be filled with floral displays showcasing the skills of local flower arrangers in and around the magnificent Grade 1 listed gothic church.

This year’s theme is ‘Colours of the Wind’ and displays will be diverse, including references to ‘Candle in the Wind’, the Red Arrows, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day and the ‘Lungs of the City’. The festival will also include two concerts this year. The Tedburn Community Choir will be entertaining visitors with an evening of popular music on Saturday 1st June at 7.30pm and the Crediton Town Band will perform on Wednesday 5th at 7.00pm. Read more…

Exwick Villa win the league

30th May 2019

Gilbert Stephens Solicitors were honoured to be a guest at the Devon and Exeter Premier League awards ceremony at Fingle Glen last Thursday. Dana Mulligan, Marketing Manager at Gilbert Stephens, who attended the ceremony said, “we are proud to be one of the football team’s sponsors, as we have had a brilliant season watching Exwick Villa’s trials and successes.”

After an impressive meal, the awards started and Exwick Villa were presented with the Devon and Exeter Premier League trophy by Wayne Carlisle. Wayne was an accomplished professional footballer playing most recently for Torquay United and is now Head Coach at Exeter City Football Club. Exwick Villa finished their last game of the season on Saturday 4th May with a no-score draw to Beer Albion. However, the club’s impressive goal difference throughout the season ensured that they were victorious overall and have taken the position of champions of the league for the first time. Read more…