For the third year running, Bevan Brittan has been named among the UK’s best law firms by The Times.

In the newly published The Times 200 Best Law Firm 2021 report, the firm has been commended in four practice areas, up from three last year, with Landlord & Tenant joining Employment, Pensions & Immigration; Administrative & Public Law and Clinical Negligence as standout practices.

In the second of our Times Best Law Firm Spotlight interviews, we focus on Landlord & Tenant with Partners Jonathan Turner and David Hobbs.

What has made this such a successful year for your practice?

JT: We are delighted to be recognised by The Times for our Landlord & Tenancy work. This comes alongside some excellent results in the latest Chambers and Legal 500 directories and positive feedback from clients in our client listening programme. I am proud of our team as this external validation confirms that our approach to supporting our clients is working well. A specific example of our commitment to improving our service offering for our clients is the work we have done on managing tenant relationships through a range of products to help clients with the efficiency and effectiveness of their statutory compliance processes for health and safety checks. This is one example of how our clients are benefitting from the continuation of our strategy to strengthen the breadth and depth of the Housing Team.

What types of projects have you worked on over the last 12 months?

DH: At Bevan Brittan we act for a diverse range of clients, including large landowners such as NHS Property Services, Canal & River Trust and the Environment Agency. We work on all aspects of their property portfolios including asset management work such as acquisitions and disposals and general landlord and tenant estate management work.

We also act on the tenant side of transactions. One of the notable transaction we’ve worked on recently is the headquarters for the electoral commission who have recently competed their lease for their head office in London.

What do you think are the opportunities and challenges faced by this market over the next 12 months?

DH: The challenges primarily revolve around the Covid-19 pandemic for the moment and I think this will continue for the next 12 months. We act for some of the largest landowners in the country and we are increasingly finding that tenants are coming to some of these landowners asking them to share the pain of the economic burden they are under, so landlords are being asked to reduce or defer rents or give rent free periods so we imagine that will continue.

There is also some uncertainty in the office sector given that many firms have managed remote working successfully, leading to a question mark over how much office space will be required in the next 12 months. It does however provide an opportunity for office space to be repurposed and we are working with our clients to explore those opportunities. We are finding that some clients are looking at this uncertain property market as an opportunity to acquire properties that they perhaps wouldn’t in a buoyant market.

JT: The other real challenges and opportunities that the sector is facing come about from the reforms to fire safety, the anticipated building safety reforms and the drive for decarbonisation. We’re due to see new fire and building safety legislation that will drive change throughout the industry – covering both how buildings are developed and the longer-term management of new and existing buildings; this legislative change will have a positive impact on the whole sector. Alongside that, investments will have to be made in retrofitting technologies to assist with decarbonisation and improving the environmental sustainability of buildings as well, which is a positive. Landlords will therefore face a challenge to work with their tenants to make sure buildings are safe for occupation and environmentally sustainable.

What do you hope to achieve as a team over the next 12 months?

DH: We will help our clients navigate what will likely be a difficult 12 months given the pandemic and help to protect property-related revenue streams.

JT: It’s a challenging time at the moment as we face many changes both for our own business and for our clients’ businesses. We all have a longer-term strategy and over the next year we will work with our clients to make sure that, when they encounter difficulties, they come up with good solutions that enable them to face these challenges and at the same time provide excellent services to their residents.

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