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Increase in Non-Compliant Landlord Accusations

Recent times have seen a notable increase in media coverage focusing on disputes between landlords and tenants, particularly highlighting issues such as damp and mould. Dutton Gregory Solicitors have observed a spike in these complaints, attributing part of the rise to the emergence of companies offering quick-fix solutions for tenants. These services, reminiscent of aggressive advertising campaigns for personal injury claims, have been pointed out for exacerbating distrust towards landlords by labelling many as ‘non-compliant’ to promote their specialised services.

A Shift in Perception
Gina Peters, Head of Landlord & Tenant at Dutton Gregory Solicitors, has voiced concerns over the growing perception of landlords as inherently untrustworthy, driven largely by media narratives. Despite the prevalence of compliant landlords, Peters notes a significant lack of governmental support for the sector. “This is very much a case of perception versus reality, with the media creating this story that all landlords are not to be trusted,” she remarks, highlighting the impact of insufficient funding and incentives. This situation has led to an uptick in landlord-tenant disputes, propelled by government actions like the proposed abolition of Section 21, which have only intensified financial pressures and uncertainty for landlords.

The Broader Impact on the Rental Sector
The advent of tenant-focused companies and the subsequent portrayal of landlords as potential legal targets have contributed to a distorted view of the rental market. Local authorities, tasked with addressing these disputes, face challenges due to inadequate funding and resources, further complicated by the variability of licensing schemes across different boroughs. Peters points out the negative consequences of this emerging trend: “With the rise in these new style tenant-oriented companies, it is painting, in many cases, a landscape that suggests landlords are there to be sued.” She stresses the fine line between providing legal advice and exploiting the system for profit, which ultimately does not serve the private rented sector’s overall health.

Gina Peters, with her extensive experience in residential landlord and tenant law and as the author of a comprehensive guide on lettings law, underscores the need for a balanced approach to addressing these issues, one that acknowledges the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants without resorting to sensationalism or legal opportunism.


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