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Are You Fully Aware of the New Section 21 Procedure?


New Section 21 procedure coming into force on 1st October 2015

The new procedure will mean that Landlords who are unorganised and ill prepared will find it very difficult to evict tenants at the end of the Tenancy. Landlords may expect Letting Agents to comply with the new regulations on their behalf or undertake the required procedures as part of a fully managed service.
 
The new rules will apply to Assured Shorthold Tenancies granted on or after the 1 October 2015.  They will not apply to a Fixed Term Assured Shorthold Tenancy granted prior to the 1 October 2015 even if, after the relevant date, the Fixed Term Assured Shorthold Tenancy becomes a Statutory Period Tenancy. 
 
However from the 1 October 2018 the rules will apply to any Assured Shorthold Tenancy. 
 
A new form of Section 21 Notice comes into use.  The new rules also state that a Section 21 Notice cannot be served where:-

  • The tenant has resided in a property for less than four months.  This means that a Landlord cannot serve a Section 21 Notice at the start of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy and ensures that the tenants are actually given two months notice before the tenancy comes to an end. This will mean a change in procedure for many letting agents and increased obligations to diarise forward and serve the s21 Notice at the appropriate time
  •  The Landlord cannot serve a Section 21 Notice as a retaliatory action where a tenant is alleging that a Landlord is in breach of his obligations under a Lease, such as Landlords repairing obligations.   
  • Where the Landlord has not protected the tenant’s deposit under a Tenancy Deposit Scheme.  
  • Where the property requires a licence but is un-licenced.   
  • Where the Landlord had not complied with the new legal requirements (set out below). Unless fully organised, the new requirements will catch out many landlords and Letting Agents.

 
The New Legal Requirements
 
The new legal requirements state that a Landlord cannot serve a Section 21 Notice where it has not done either of the following:-

  1. Provided a tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate free of charge.
  2. Provided a tenant with a Gas Safety Certificate.
  3. Provided the tenant with a copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government Booklet “How to Rent – The Checklist for Renting in England”. Landlords need to be aware that this booklet advises tenants of the law and procedure relating to residential lettings and unless a landlord fully complies with the regulations, this will provide tenants with ready written defence to an ill prepared possession claim under the s21 procedure. 

Rob Cooke is happy to offer informal and ad hoc help and advice to you on all areas of Landlord and Tenant law. If your Landlord client requires legal assistance, he operates a national coverage service on pre-agreed fixed fees payable by your Landlord client.

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