Support, Advice and Experience within the Property Market

Section 21 Notices: What it means to Landlords

From Robert Ulph on October 8, 2015

It’s been a busy time recently for new legislation in the property market and it continues with the introduction of the new Section 21 notices, which became law on 1st October.

Section 21 is seen to be at the heart of tenancy law in this country and for a landlord ensures that you are always able to get your rented property back. However the changes to the Section 21 notices may be the biggest and most worrying new rule to be passed in lettings for many years and it may be easy for a landlord to slip up in applying this. Using a professional ARLA agent becomes so important as many of the new points can be missed and could mean that a landlord will not be able to get their property back when required.

THE CHANGES

  • A new template Section 21 form is required to be served when landlords want to give notice on any tenancies that started from 1st October 2015 onwards.
  • There are new restrictions on serving Section 21 notices too early with a fixed tenancy.
  • The new rules remove the need for a landlord to specify that a tenancy must end on the last day of a rental period (in most cases).

Prior to this change Section 21 notices could be served at any point during a tenancy, however they will now have a timing restriction, Landlords cannot validly serve a Section 21 notice in the first four months of a tenancy. However, where a tenancy has been renewed the landlord will be able to serve a Section 21 notice at any point during a renewed term.

This will mean that with, for example, a six-month fixed tenancy if a notice was served to a tenant almost immediately after they signed it will not be valid anymore and could trip up a few agents and landlords if served too early and will mean that they will not be able to get possession when the landlord requires.

The notice will also not be able to be left on the tenant’s file for years instead they will have a shelf life of only six months from serving.

Also as from the 1st October landlords will not be able to serve a Section 21 notice on tenancies that begin on or after 1st October 2015 unless the landlord has provided tenants with the following information:

  • A Gas safety certificate covering all gas appliances.
  • The property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government “How to Rent” leaflet.
  • The Prescribed Information relating to the protection of a tenants’ deposit.

We advise that all of this information be documented and signed by the tenants at the start of the contract to confirm they have had receipt of these documents.

Landlords will no longer be able to seek possession using section 21:

  • During the first four months of the tenancy, or in the case of a renewed tenancy, during the first four months of the original tenancy;
  • Where the landlord is prevented from retaliatory eviction under Section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015;
  • Where the landlord has not complied with the Required Information and supplied the specified information above;
  • Where the landlord has not complied with the tenancy deposit protection legislation; or
  • Where a property requires a licence (due to the property being an HMO) but is unlicensed.

Writing this column makes me once again realise how this can all sound like a complete minefield so if you would like any further information about this week’s topic (or anything else) please do contact me on the details below. This is something that we, at Pennington, deal with every day so have the experience of putting your best interests first.