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Courts embarrassing, slow and make odd decisions says top lawyer

An experienced property lawyer who has specialised in residential landlord and tenant law for 22 years says she is embarrassed at the current state of the court system.

Gina Peters, head of the landlord and tenant department at Dutton Gregory, 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. 

In a critique of the Renters Reform Bill she writes: “Where is the pledged investment in our court system? The government have shied away from creating a Housing Court. 


“Never in my 27 years as a lawyer have I felt more embarrassed by the delays and unhelpful decisions produced by courts. A client who requested a warrant for possession through me back in November 2022 is still waiting for an eviction date. 

“With the latest crises in London courts, and bailiffs requiring more personal protection equipment before carrying out evictions, he will be waiting even longer. With significant rent arrears when the order was made, he is losing £1,500 per month until the tenant leaves, meanwhile his mortgage payments have risen in line with interest rate increases. Where is the justice in this?”

Peters is critical of other elements of the new Bill - and of provisions that are not included.

“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.

She continues: “With one in five households now renting, the private rented sector is an essential part of the housing market. 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.  

 “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.”

Peters says that over the years, landlords have faced increasing demand to improve their stock and make it safer for tenants. 

She believes that is a positive but 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” she insists.

“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.”

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  • Kevin

    This is my biggest fear as a landlord. Get this sorted and I’ll suck up the proposed reforms.


    Blimey. The reforms are horrendous. I wouldn’t suck them up if I could evict in 24 hours!

    I trust you read them thoroughly.


    You are not alone, Nick.

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    Sounds like the voice of reason. I think we can expect more landlords to exit or resort to desperate measures. I didn't get to read the comments on the article yesterday that have been removed, what were people saying I wonder?

  • icon

    She appears to care and know what she is talking about…. It doesn’t look good going forward 😱

  • Getting out  Landlord

    Just got possession of 2 that are now up for sale. 1 is coming back to me this month after tenants purchasing a home refused to leave until their sale completed 4 months after the section21 came into to force. Which had cost us thousands in capital appreciation as the value had plummeted. I didn't bother with the court proceedings as I knew it would take more money and the timmings would be as long if not longer. Plus they might not have paid the rent during that time.

    Another back this month will go straight to auction and then it will continue untill the remainder are all gone.

    I spoke to the local agent here yesterday whilst doing a valuation on one of mine and he said he was putting 12 on the market today. All from one landlord and that he has more stock this month to sell than the whole of last year put together.

    All landlords selling up.
    This is a high yielding area next to a main university campus.

    I have resided to the fact I will have less in the pot than planned and no income for the time being but at least I will be free!

    The tide has turned already and the wave is approaching fast.


    Freedom and peace of mind are worth a great deal Shelley. They are priceless actually.


    Not ALL landlords are selling up and properties with students with solvent guarantors are the safest btl investment moving forward with new legislation which seriously disadvantages families, although many have yet to realise this.

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    Courts not fit for purpose and haven't been for a long time


    Laws are not fit for purpose either, unfairly supporting rogue tenants whilst destroying good PRS LL’s.
    Courts just follow the laws of the land.

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    I am amazed that someone in the legal profession has spoken up and so candidly. Well done Gina Peters. Maybe she is looking for work with NRLA, however they will not want someone as outspoken as this!
    The writing really is on the wall for a lot of Landlord's especially mortgaged ones. My intention is still to hold off to sell next year but appreciate that not everyone can afford to do this or have the desire to wait.
    I share your pain Shelley, I'm trying to evict a non paying tenant currently with over £10,000 in rent arrears and hiding behind the very slow Court system.
    Clearly there is no justice for Landlord's and we do not trust the Government or the Courts to change in this arena.

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    One such case, when the district judge opened the file in January in Croydon County Court she gave a summary judgement to strike out the claim because the how to rent guide and EPC had not been served. Since they were, an application is made to set aside the order and have a hearing, but instead having agreed with the fact that they were served said it is still struck out because the deposit prescribed was not given within thirty days. The first a made up striking out and the second a serious technically incorrect order which shows a District Judge who is highly incompetent or thinks that we are. A second application is made to request that this Judge remove herself from the process siting four individual actions demonstrating bias. It is now being handled by a different judge who has said there will be a hearing. That was some weeks ago. Why am I telling you this story? I have been doing this work for over 16 years and it has always been like this to some degree where most just go through. All the people ask it that the courts work with honesty and integrity all of the time without bias (as most judges do) but not most of them, all of them. We are now serving a section 8 for 14k arrears where this section 21 is perfectly fine and should have been given a possession order in January when the file was opened and this Judge should be sacked. And what of the Judge who has taken over the case? and a matter of integrity? Is he upset that we have accused the previous judge of bias and what is he looking after? The rules or his colleague? We have had other Judges in Croydon who consistently offer incorrect reasons for striking out a claim. We sense a culture in this particular court.

  • Franklin I

    If the average property were to increase by 25% in the UK, I'm sure that most LL's would take the opportunity to sell up!

    In the event that this were to happen, I'm sure that the government would try to increase the CGT from 28% to 38% to deter LL's from selling, just to squeeze more out of us, before we exile.

    The whole system is discriminatory to LL's.

    1) The Tenant’s Fee Act 2019, was indirectly caused by estate agents, but it was the LL's who had to compensate the tenant's.
    2) The wording for the replacement of S21, known as the 'Renter's reform bill' is more like a bill of victory in support of Tenant's rights, without taking into account LL's right. For example, naming it the 'Landlord's and Tenant’s reform bill' would've been more appropriate, but it appears that this bill is an attack on LL's in support of tenants.

    As Landlord's, we have to provide the following before a tenancy commences/renews;

    1. How To Rent Guide
    2. Energy Performance Certificate
    3. Landlord's Gas Safety Inspection Report
    4. Deposit Protection Certificate & Prescribed Info
    5. Landlord's Licensing (If applicable)
    6. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Letter/Notice
    7. Tenancy Agreement/Addendum to Add Clauses
    8. EICR Report

    As for the tenants, they just turn up!

    I'm calling for some sort of "Tenant’s Licensing," to be made mandatory and statutory.

    Within this Licensing for Tenant’s, a Renter's insurance will be compulsory and all Tenant’s would have to provide their LL's with a certificate of insurance before tenancy commences/renews.

    Secondly, tenants would have to undergo a course, that indicates they fully understand the terms and conditions of their tenancy agreement, they fully understand the procedures/consequences in non-payment of rent, reporting repairs, damp, mould and condensation etc.

    In addition to this, the tenant's would also take shared responsibility in providing LL's with the renewals of their "Right to rent checks," for the duration of their tenancy!

    A lot of work needs to be done, as it will be against the law for LL's to discriminate against tenant's on UC, but the system implemented by UC, clearly discriminates against LL's.

    In fact, if a LL decides that they don't want to take on tenant's with UC, it's more likely, that they just don't want the unnecessary hassle of dealing with UC, regarding non-payment disputes whilst tenant's are still residing in property, only to be told that this is a civil matter, when you've got conclusive evidence of BENEFIT FRAUD!


    Dream on about tenant licensing. The government over the past couple of decades have bought up children who think they can say they are a cat. There's too much sh*t out there. Not enough homes. The government has nowhere to put them. So we are going back to the 70s and 80s where once in they stay in.

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    Is it not time the NRLA stood up for Landlords? Where have they been during this nightmare of a time?


    Ben Beadle has rolled over. Forget the NRLA they are useless.

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Beadles About... Update for everyone, he has still not responded to the request to mail every member in the NRLA about S21.


    Peter, perhaps message Graham Norwood about the lack of response from the NRLA about the Section 21 petition. You can ask to remain anonymous.

    At the bottom of this webpage there is a column headed "Take action" and then within the column there is an option - have a story, contact our press team.


    He needs to honour his agreement with Gove that his student lets won't lose S21. So it is said on forums anyway....

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Hi Ellie,

    I think I will give him the two weeks we spoke about then will send to Graham Norwood. The complete lack of action is astounding from a body that has over 100k+ members.

    Gen Rent and Shelter and all the other crackpots are all over the press and social media with a very aggressive push on their position. What do we get from NRLA... 10% discount for Trade Point....! The way its going we may have more use for 10% discount at courts, solicitors and baliffs.


    @peter sheltersfriend - try mellisa Lawford at telegraph who might look at it if she thinks ARLA secretly supporting govt


    That sounds like a good plan, Peter.

  • Franklin I

    Whilst you say dream on about "Tenants Licensing," I said the same thing to Newham council, when they conducted a consultation for the proposal of a Landlords Licensing in 2013.

    I'm sure that at least 80% of Landlords were against it, but the following year in 2014, it became law.

    When all the LL's start to jump ship, and there's no one to fill the void, they may want to do a survey for LL's on what could have be done to prevent the exodus of LL's, and what changes could be made to make it fairer on all sides.


    I understand. The dream on comment concerns the political climate. It's pro-tenant and anti-landlord. The idea would not get off the ground atm. As you say later it might. Most of us will be gone by then. Probably long dead too.



    Just self identify as a cat and you'll have another 8 lives left!


    Hopefully if I self identify as a cat a judge will rule the rogue tenant has made me crazy that way and will give me my property back.


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