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Lawyer steps up criticism of Gove’s attack on private landlords

A prominent lawyer has stepped up her criticisms of Housing Secretary Michael Gove and his attacks on buy to let and private landlords.

Gina Peters - Head of Landlord & Tenant at Dutton Gregory Solicitors - has been outspoken in the past on the government’s lack of support for landlords, and the risk of provoking a mass sell up of rental properties. 

Now she says: “The Government's actions and lack of solutions in the last year has quite frankly left the rental industry in limbo that has led to landlords simply getting out. There are many things that should be announced that can help buy-to-let landlords and provide peace of mind, however Michael Gove has yet to provide any resolutions. 


“We have seen some stability more recently in the market, which is positive, potentially due to the delays Gove had implemented with Section 21, and the various readings of it needing to go through Parliament, though more likely due to the steadying and lowering of interest rates. However, with his recent announcement and the fact he wants to prevent landlords from abusing the notice, it will incite more action to exit the lettings market. 

“What the government does not seem to grasp, possibly being swayed by constant lobbying from tenant supporting charities and organisations, is how outrageous it is for a landlord to use a mechanism that enables them to get their property back. The majority of landlords do not abuse Section 21, and only use it where appropriate. The whole point of buy-to-let is to get a return on investment so landlords want a tenant in their property. 

“Removing the ability for landlords to use the notice will have an adverse effect.  Landlords will simply fear they have very little authority over their property, therefore making them less likely to stay in the buy-to-let market.

“With the upcoming Spring Budget, the Government can do many things to put buy-to-let landlords at ease. First, they should reintroduce a reduction on Stamp Duty on second properties purchased to let out, to make it more viable for landlords to have bigger property portfolios. Secondly, to bring back some sort of mortgage relief. With the younger generation unable to afford to buy a property, we need to make it easier for landlords to stay in the buy-to-let market as their importance in this key area of the economy has increased enormously.

“To tackle the exceeding demand of rental properties, the Government also needs to incentivise getting out of the rental market and provide first time buyers with something similar to Help To Buy. If there wasn’t such a demand, then we wouldn’t be in the current housing crisis we are facing, and the pending abolishment of Section 21 wouldn’t have  such a big impact.”

Peters has specialised in residential landlord and tenant law for 22 years. 

She 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. She is also the author of the award-nominated book: ‘Lettings Law for Property Professionals: Your Legal Questions Answered’.

Hampshire-headquartered Dutton Gregory Solicitors is a full-service national legal firm for private and corporate clients. 

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    They are not Charity Tenants Support Groups, they are using Tenant's to receive donations for their own financial gain.
    Which Tenants have they supported is it the thousands evicted because of them pushing Gove filling Auction Rooms to record levels never know before.
    Maybe it’s the unaffordable Rents they caused causing homeless or the Streets of London lined with Tents.


    Exactly Michael, those are the results of the RRB and the ideas behind it:

    1. Very large number of tenants served Section 21 notices because landlords are selling up when the private rental sector needed more flats, not less
    2. Rents for the remaining properties going right up
    3. More homelessness

  • Ian Deaugustine

    Can someone remind Gove what the Thatcher (conservative) used to say? The state and government must stay out and not interfere with the market. Can Give ask himself what the hell is he doing?


    I concur on them staying out of the market, but then they should not have sold off all the social housing on the cheap, and not replaced it. Right or wrong, there will ALWAYS be those in society who will not/cannot provide a home for themselves 🤔


    Do you still believe that this government is Conservative? 🤔


    Annoyed, Only Reform are Conservative. I understand that they want to ditch the RRB too :)


    I will never vote blue or red again. Reform for me though I was disappointed with the Wellingborough by-election result.
    Selling Council houses though in principle a good idea, there should have been penalties going forward if the property was sold in 25 years, in order to compare with a mortgage. And the money invested in building replacement properties and the cycle could have continued, say 40 years later. I say this as older houses cost more to upkeep.
    This just underlines the short term thinking of our so called leaders since the 1980's.

  • David Lester

    What do the Lenders think about Section 21?

    Ian Deaugustine

    I don't care what lenders think; I will never serve section 21 to a good tenant who pays their rent punctually and ventilates/heats the flat (I am aware of tenants who do not use heating in winter "to save money", then blame landlords for mould et cetera) and maintain the property properly.


    I am interested in what they think. I would have thought they would have a lot to say about it. Althoough I read somewhere some lenders are lobbying behind the scenes. These days banks can't do anything before have the great unwashed camping outside and spraying their properties orange due to some so-called 'cause'.

  • James Scollard

    The worst is, homeowners want security of 5 yr fix mortgages. Tenants want the same, not periodic, month by month tenancies. The removal of fixed term tenancies will devastate the student market.

    Ian Deaugustine

    Thanks God I am a cash buyer


    This hasn't happened in Scotland where students are now preferred over families.

    However hybrid properties are no longer let to students from September to May and are full time holiday rentals instead, further reducing availability of long term rental properties.


    Rent can only be increased once a year after a tenancy rolls onto a SPT.
    I've never been asked for a series of fixed term tenancies and apart from students always let it roll onto SPT. Obviously the student market needs to have fixed tenancies as the academic year is a fixed concept.
    Most other tenants prefer the flexibility of being able to give notice when they need to. When they get a new job in a different area, want to move in with their partner, buy a house, etc. They don't want to have to plan their life around fixed tenancies.



    As usual, you're totally right.

    The fact that the academic year is fixed means that student rentals don't really change even when fixed term tenancies are banned.

    The two issues are when they don't get their act together to allow us to get the best choice of future tenants who do plan well ahead or when one might be undecided whether to do a postgraduate course and not want to give the flat up but doesn't have new flatmates lined up.

    I use the threat of large rent increases to concentrate their mind but that was banned for the last two years.

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    How, exactly, do landlords abuse Section 21? 🤔 There is a contract between landlord and tenant with obligations on both sides and a defined notice period when one party wants to end the contract. How can that be abused?

    No doubt they will quote revenge notice, but are they really made as revenge? If the relationship between the landlord and tenant has broken down to that extent, then it would be best for both to end it.

    No GOOD landlord gives a GOOD tenant notice without GOOD reason.

    Ian Deaugustine

    I really like your comment: no Good landlord gives a Good tenant notice without Good reason, it will be my mantra from now on, thanks

    Peter Why Do I Bother

    Absolutely Correct!


    The country has lots of s*** living in it. A lot is all home grown and a fair amount imported. It has to live somewhere (although I think even that's debatable). As demand and supply continue not to keep up landlords will have ever more power. So landlords need their wings clipped. So all the s*** has somewhere safe and secure to stay and not keep becoming the governments and councils problems. So sequestration is the order of the day!


    Spot on. How exactly do landlords abuse section 21?

    Its like saying tenants abuse landlords when they serve notice.

    So much inflammatory language used when speaking about landlords. I have a fairly large portfolio and from memory, have only served section 21 once. My business model is based on tenants to staying!

  • icon

    I am surprised that the number of S21s issued is so low.

  • icon

    Everyone knows Section 21 is used frequently when a Section 8 should be used. Give will find Section 8 use goes up once he abolishes Section 21.


    However Section 8 needs to be tightened and strengthened up. Often Landlords use Section 21 because it is quicker and final.

  • icon

    Good to read a positive article supporting landlords. I concur with Gina Peters’ balanced article. Section 21 is a vital safeguard for landlords. We do not abuse it. I have served only one Section 21 (and that was because the tenant immediately stopped paying all rent/bills as he was a fraudster) during my forty years as a landlord. Landlords are being driven out the market by all the anti landlord rhetoric and impending removal of Section 21. Gove has really messed up but Labour are threatening to make things worse. When Section 21 originally introduced it drastically increased supply. Often rentals in Europe are quoted as being much more secure but it should be noted tenants have to be responsible for internal upkeep and landlords not subject to constant regulations/vilification. They are treated as assets to the economy providing much need accommodation.

  • icon

    This message has been shouted from the hilltops by landlords, agents and anyone else with a brain for a number of years now.
    Unfortunately those shaking up the PRS don't have a brain.

  • Nic  Kaz

    Neither Gove nor Labour will change their stance because it is seen as a vote winner, Without explaining the ramifications to tenants it’s the equivalent of persuading turkeys to vote for Christmas….

  • icon

    Socialism causes these problems. These are problems that are being caused deliberately. Chaos is all around us (in the west). Open borders. Inefficient / incompetent public servants in universal basic income jobs working from home in their pyjamas. Land grabs from the farmers by the state. Collective communism awaits. "You'll own nothing and be happy".


    Socialism is a terrible system. It only helps the lazy and the feckless.


    Well Nick that is GB today ''lazy and feckless'' we must be the laughing stock of the world


    Nick and Andrew, don't forget 'entitled'. An ever-increasing group of people from all demographics who believe they have the right to all sorts of things without contributing any of their own meaningful effort to achieve it.


    Lindsey, I never forget 'entitled'. I mention it quite a lot on here. Someone moves into MY PROPERTY and they somehow have the right to stay forever against my will? No way.


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