Denise Woodward

Denise Woodward

We are sad to announce the death of Denise Woodward, Consultant Solicitor, on 22nd April 2023.

Denise was a valued member of our Family Law Team and a hugely popular member of staff. Denise will be sorely missed by all her work colleagues and the legal fraternity in Chester and beyond.

Darlene Storrar, Managing Partner, says:

"Denise was an excellent Family Law Solicitor and a highly valued member of our team. Denise was dedicated to her work and her many clients and we will miss her enormously. Denise was always cheerful and engaging. Our thoughts are with her large supportive family at this very sad time."


Landlord and Tenant Spring Round Up

3 February, 2022

The snowdrops are out and the crocus are peeking through in the garden indicating that we are heading towards spring so now is a good time to take a look at what is happening in the residential landlord and tenant world this year.

For private landlords and tenants all eyes will be on the progress of the Renters Reform Bill which is set to abolish no fault evictions; delayed in 2021 it looks likely to gather pace this year. If the Bill proceeds as predicted Section 21 notices will be abolished entirely and Section 8 notices will have an expanded number of grounds upon which possession can be sought.

This Spring will also see the first cases come to the County Courts where landlords are relying on the new S8 notices to recover possession of residential property. The changes came into force in October 2021 and one major issue seems likely to be whether the accompanying notes have been given to tenants or not.

The recent case of Northwood Solihull  v Fearne Cooke and Ors  relates to signature of  eviction notices and prescribed information by an agent acting for a corporate landlord. The tenant argued that the notices and prescribed information should have been signed in accordance with the Companies Act. Sensibly the court decided that an agent for the landlord could sign those documents and were not required to follow the Companies Act procedure for signature.

In the enfranchisement world those lessees thinking of taking over the Right to Manage should take a look at the first RTM case to reach the Supreme Court. The case of Firstport v Settlers Court was decided last month and limits the areas which the RTM will manage, it cannot include communal areas shared with other buildings.

The First Tier Tribunal appears to be tightening up its guidance on appointment of a manager with new guidance in December of 2021 setting out what is expected of the manager as well as a proposed draft management order.

Commonhold continues to be a watchword and the Commonhold Council, formed in May of 2021 is advising the government on how to achieve widespread take up of Commonhold and to ensure that it can work in as many settings as possible.

Things have been busy in the House of Lords with the long awaited Leasehold Reform (Ground Rent) Bill making its way through the Lords and expected to be on the statue books within the next few months. This is the first of the government’s planned leasehold reforms. Ground rent is to be abolished in new residential long leases of houses and flats. Voluntary lease extensions can still have a ground rent but only for the remaining term of the original lease. No ground rent is payable from the time the extension kicks in. Many corporate landlords and developers are already including a nil (peppercorn) ground rent in new leases. It is important to remember that the Act will not be retrospective so leases granted before the Act comes into force can still include ground rent provisions.

Finally one to watch, a case which is due to reach the FTT later his year on the payability of VAT on staff costs. If a landlord directly employs staff there is no VAT payable but if they are employed by the managing agent then VAT is payable. This will have a major impact on large blocks with porters and other staff.

For further information please contact Jane Canham on 01244 400567 or email:

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