Is the private rental sector changing?

Is the private rental sector changing?

Is the private rental sector changing?

A proposed major overhaul in the private rental sector is potentially just around the corner. The knock-on effect of this is that it could potentially create open-ended tenancies.

Currently there is no need for the landlord to provide a reason for wishing to take possession., The landlord simply serves a Section 21 Notice of Possession, commonly known as a Section 21 ‘No fault’ Eviction notice. This is the notice a landlord must give to their tenant/s to begin the process of obtaining vacant possession of a property that they have let on an assured short-hold tenancy (AST).

Under the new proposed rules, private landlords will be unable to evict tenants from their homes at short notice without sufficient evidence and a good reason for doing so.

One in four families are currently renting their homes from private landlords, many have very short-term contracts and worry whether a Section 21 notice could come their way one day.

By ending Section 21 Evictions, many tenants will have their minds put at ease that they won’t be evicted without been given any reason why.

Landlords  will have mixed feelings. The loss of this procedure would mean every eviction could be contested and with the current delays in the court timetables eviction could become an expensive long drawn out procedure.  One advantage   is that landlords regaining vacant possession of their properties will be able to recover rent arrears and damages from Tenants who have caused significant damage to their property.

We realise the importance of the private rental sector for both landlords and tenants alike:

The new proposed rules to end Section 21 evictions should receive a cautious welcome.

This will give tenants less worry and the confidence to firmly plant their roots in their home.

Landlords will still be able to remove undesirable tenants and in a much more efficient and timely manner.


As specialists in all types of tenancy disputes, we can explain the issues surrounding section 21 and the new proposed rules in plain English and whether you are a tenant or a landlord experiencing difficulties, we can give you all the help and advice you need.

For more information contact us

Telephone: 01206 577676 or email: [email protected]

No-fault divorce

No-fault divorce

No-fault divorce

Many people feel the current divorce law is out of date, particularly following the 2018 Owens v Owens case where Mrs Owens was denied a divorce because she could not prove that her husband had behaved sufficiently unreasonably. Well, no longer will couples have to play ‘the blame game’! The government plans to reform the divorce process to remove the requirement for anyone wanting a divorce to have to claim the breakdown happened because the other party to the relationship was at fault in some way.

The government has just confirmed that it will go ahead with the planned changes by introducing new legislation – as yet there is no time-scale but watch this space.

Once the reforms are in place, a couple or one party would only need to notify the court that their marriage has irretrievably broken down. The ‘five facts’ would be removed:

  • adultery
  • behaviour that makes continuing to live together unreasonable
  • desertion
  • separation of more than two years (if spouse agrees to the divorce)
  • separation of at least five years (if spouse disagrees with the divorce).

The government also plans to:

  • allow couples to give notice jointly
  • allow joint applications to become sole applications (and vice versa)
  • remove the ability for one person to contest a divorce
  • retain the two stage process of decree nisi and decree absolute
  • introduce a minimum timeframe of six months from petition to decree absolute
  • modernise the language used in the divorce process.

These changes would also apply to the dissolution of civil partnerships.

Our view

These reforms should help to remove blame and simplify the process.

‘No-fault divorce’ should reduce conflict, allowing couples to focus on important issues like children, property and finances.

However, note the planned removal of the ability to defend the divorce!  A forced marriage is a crime committed by the person doing the forcing.  What about a forced divorce?  No such plans to make this a crime – on the contrary, the government are allowing this to become acceptable.

We will update you on the progress of any legislation.

If you would like advice on divorce, please contact our Family team who will be happy to help.

For more information on divorce

Contact our Family Department on 01206 577676 or email [email protected]

Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive Covenants

Restrictive Covenants 

You have likely heard the term before but what is a restrictive covenant and what does it mean if you have one on the property you plan to buy? 

A restrictive covenant is a rule which details what can and cannot be done on the land. Typically, they are attached to the land by the seller of land who, crucially, still retains land nearby. For example: a farmer owns a field and sells half of it to a developer.  As the farmer retains half of the field (which is nearby to the land being sold) the farmer can attach a restrictive covenant to the land he is selling to state that the developer, and future purchasers, cannot keep livestock on the land.    

A restrictive covenant is a negative obligation: they are rules preventing certain things from being done on the land. The most common restrictive covenants are: 

  1. No building or alterations to the current property without prior written consent from the previous owner (often a developer); 
  2. No businesses or trades shall operate from the property; and 
  3. Nothing construed as a ‘nuisance’ shall be done at the property.  This includes noise, smells, noxious substances, illegal activity etc.    

A covenant always binds the initial parties that own the land when the covenant is new.  However, the covenant only binds successive owners if certain criteria are met.  This is a very technical area of law but some older, or more vague restrictions have been defeated if the party who seeks to rely on the restrictive covenant no longer holds land nearby. 

If you are buying a property and it is clear that a restrictive covenant has been breached (for example: a conservatory has been erected at the property, but no developers consent has been obtained when it is required) there are a couple of ways round it: 

  1. Put in hand a standard ‘off the shelf’ indemnity policy.  This will cover you as future owner of any repercussions should the developer find out about the addition and seek damages for the breach by the previous owner; or
  2. If the breach occurred more than 20 years ago caselaw suggests that the restrictive covenant falls away and is incapable of being enforced. 

If you are buying a property and you consider you are likely to breach a restrictive covenant post completion that is not necessarily the end of your home buying dreams.  Again, an indemnity policy could come to your rescue.  You are likely to require a bespoke policy in this instance which will cost a little more. Please Note: whilst policies are useful and bridge gaps in many situations for residential property matters this is not always the case for commercial land acquisitions. 

If you have any questions about restrictive covenants do let us know. 

For more information on a Restrictive Covenant

Contact our Conveyancing Department on 01206 577676 or email [email protected]

5 Things to Consider When Making a Court Claim

5 Things to Consider When Making a Court Claim

5 Things to Consider When Making a Court Claim

Saying “I’m going to sue you” is a very easy statement to make but the reality of actually suing  someone or a company is not quite so easy. A claim can be a long and expensive process without any guaranteed result.  However, if you genuinely believe a court claim is the only way to resolve a dispute, then there are a number of things that you should consider first. 

  1. Do you have enough evidence?

It is important to ensure that you can provide as much evidence as possible to substantiate your claim.  This can include contracts, documents, photographs, receipts, witness evidence. This will not only support your claim, but the evidence can add more weight to your claim. 

  1. Don’t wait too long to make a claim

If you feel you have enough evidence and you want to pursue a claim, then don’t leave it too long before you action this. This is because some matters, you only have a limited time to bring a claim to court.

  1. Knowing what you want to achieve 

In some cases, such as debt claims, you know exactly why you are bringing the claim. However, if you simply want to be heard then a court claim will not be the best place for this. Also, knowing exactly what you want will help focus the mind when it comes to accepting or making any offers.

  1. Know the likely costs and time involved in advance

Court proceedings can be a lengthy and costly pursuit. It is always worth considering whether it is worth spending the time and money involved before you make a claim. It is worth speaking to a solicitor about the likely costs involved in trying to bring a claim as solicitor fees, barrister fees and court fees can really add up and in civil proceedings, you may sometimes be ordered to pay your opponent’s costs. 

  1. Do you have a valid claim? 

Whilst you may feel 100% correct about bringing a claim, it is always important to know the law.   Just because you feel you have a grievance doesn’t mean you have a cause of action.

If you still wish to make a claim, GoodyBurrett can help you.  Please contact our Litigation Team for more information.

For more information on making a claim contact our Litigation Team

Contact our Litigation Team on 01206 577676 or email [email protected]