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Renters Reform Bill is not the answer 

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The focus of the Renters Reform Bill – brought to Parliament on 17th May 2023 – was anticipated to change the way landlords can regain possession of their property. Head of Landlord and Tenant at Dutton Gregory Solicitors agrees reform is necessary, but that this Bill in its current form is not the answer. 

Gina Peters has specialised in residential landlord and tenant law for 22 years. She has advised clients through the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, the Housing Act 1988 and 1996, and the Deregulation Act 2015 – and now the 2023 Renters Reform Bill. 

“With one in five households now renting, the private rented sector is an essential part of the housing market,” she explains. “As the government has reduced its housebuilding strategy for all local authorities from mandatory to advisory, with some councils scrapping targets all together, the housing market is shrinking in relative terms. With fewer houses being built, and no Help to Buy scheme, more renters will be stuck renting for longer. Meanwhile, the Renters Reform Bill – which creates a big change to the way landlords can regain possession of their properties – is being brought in at a time when some are already looking at selling their buy to let portfolios.   

“Whilst there is widespread support for raising the standards of private rented properties, interestingly the Decent Home Standard is notable for its omission within the Bill. The latest tranche of regulation and rules however are a step too far for some landlords. Recently, the sector has become a target for the press on the basis that a minority of landlords cause problems for tenants in the lack of care for their properties and the people they house. However, rented properties create independent living for millions – and contribute hugely to the British economy – so, we need a piece of legislation that works with landlords, rather than against them. 

“There is a very real danger that this Bill will be the last straw for landlords and there will be an exodus from the sector, with many more previously let properties being put up for sale. This will add to the already shrinking housing stock available to rent, and consequently with rental properties in high demand, rents could continue to surge.  

“Over the years, landlords have faced increasing demand to improve their stock and make it safer for tenants. That is no bad thing, but the higher cost of living affects everyone – including landlords. As interest rates continue to rise and impact mortgage repayments, the investment within the rented sector and the yield available – following the required improvements – is shrinking. Further effective lobbying is clearly needed on the details and implications of this Bill if it is to benefit all parties, otherwise securing a rented property is going to become much harder. 

“Even once the changes to the reforms are finalised and in place, what the Bill really needs to address is the infrastructure for landlords seeking possession of their properties for genuine reasons. Default in rental payments as debt rises, rising antisocial behaviour and a need to sell the property to realise the capital, are some of those reasons. All the rules can be in place, and are currently, but without a court system that works to support such situations, landlords will continue to feel persecuted by a broken system and this will not improve the current housing crisis.” 

Gina Peters

For more information on investment properties, visit  

www.duttongregory.co.uk 

or contact Gina at  

[email protected] 

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Hello Surrey! 

Dutton Gregory Solicitors welcomes Mackrell Turner Garrett. 

Dutton Gregory Solicitors is continuing to broaden its network of offices across the UK with the announcement of a merger with Surrey law firm, Mackrell Turner Garrett. 

Both full-service law firms were established over 70 years ago and have since proved their commitment to providing clients with tailored legal solutions in property, for later life planning, families and commercial matters. 

“We had been looking for the right partner firm in Surrey when we met the Partners at Mackrell Turner Garrett,” explains Andrew Tilley, Managing Partner of Dutton Gregory Solicitors, which employs over 130 staff across Hampshire, Dorset and, recently announced, in the city of Liverpool. 

“After spending some time getting to know each other, we realised that our firms are on similar journeys, share the same values, vision and culture and have the same ambitions, so were delighted when they accepted our invitation to join forces.” 

Makrell-Turner-Garrett-merger

There will be an initial transition period during which Mackrell Turner Garrett will practice as ‘Dutton Gregory incorporating Mackrell Turner Garrett’. 

“We wanted to merge with a larger organisation that would equip us with both additional resources and a wider range of expertise and services,” says Marc Mediratta, Partner and Head of Company & Commercial at Mackrell Turner Garrett. “Both sides have worked hard to ensure that this is a beneficial opportunity for staff, associates and, most importantly, clients.” 

“The legal market is changing rapidly, and our strategy for growth will give us the resilience to continue delivering the highest standards of service to both our existing and widening client base,” explains Tilley. “In order to maintain momentum, merger or acquisition has to be part of that strategy, so we are now very excited about the prospect of further developing our merged businesses in Surrey and beyond.” 

Dutton Gregory appoints first notary public 

An expert in negotiating and resolving commercial disputes has joined the Litigation Team of Dutton Gregory Solicitors. 

From construction, contractual and professional negligence disputes, to disagreements between directors, shareholders and employers with their staff, Alice Toop brings a wealth of experience to her new role at Dutton Gregory. 

With successful outcomes from a wide variety of dispute resolution methods, including negotiation, mediation, adjudication and arbitration, Alice is also able to guide clients through insolvency and is one the few Publics Notaries in England & Wales able to authenticate documents for legal transactions abroad. 

After being awarded the Dorset Magistrates’ Association Prize for Excellence in Advocacy whilst studying her LPC at Bournemouth University, Alice was named a ‘Rising Star’ in Commercial Litigation by The Legal 500 in 2020 and 2023, and has been ranked as a ‘Recommended Lawyer’ for the past two years. 

“I am delighted to be joining the team at Dutton Gregory,’ says Alice. ‘I have seen their work when our paths have crossed, was excited to learn about their plans for the future and look forward to being part of them.” 

“The key to successful business, especially in the current climate, is to resolve any issues quickly and comprehensively,” says Andrew Witt, Partner and Head of Litigation. “We know Alice will be a great asset to the team.” 

www.duttongregory.co.uk 


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