The Letting Game would like to notify all Bristol landlords of some important changes to Section 21.
Please read on to prevent being caught out.
Landlords, if you want to gain possession of a property by serving a Notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, there are several new provisions that you need to be aware of.
The new rules will only apply to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) entered into, on or after 1st October 2015.
Here are the main changes to be aware of:
- It will no longer be possible to serve a Section 21 Notice within the first four months of the tenancy. In the case of replacement tenancies or fixed term tenancies which have become statutory periodic tenancies, the relevant period is four months from the date on which the original tenancy began.
- A Section 21 Notice will only be valid for six months from the date it was given. Once the Notice has expired possession proceedings must be commenced within this time frame.
For Notices given under Section 21(4a) in respect of statutory periodic tenancies, possession proceedings must be commenced within four months from the date of the expiry of the Notice.
- A Section 21(4a) Notice will no longer be invalid if the date for possession noted is not the last day of a tenancy period. Under the new rules, the need to specify the last day of a period of the tenancy will be removed.
- Landlords will be unable to serve a Section 21 Notice where they are in breach of their legal obligations to a tenant. For example, failing to provide an Energy Performance Certificate or a valid Gas Certificate for the property.
- Further, landlords will be unable to serve a Section 21 Notice until they have provided prescribed information about the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants under an AST.
This information can be provided in hard copy or by e-mail, where requested as such. The document is entitled “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” and can be obtained from the GOV.UK website by searching for ‘How to rent’.
- Where a tenant makes a complaint about the condition of a property in writing and a satisfactory response is not received then the tenant may complain to the local authority, which must inspect the property.
If the local authority then serves an improvement notice or carries out emergency remedial action, any Section 21 Notice already served will be rendered invalid. If a notice is served by the local authority then no further Section 21 Notice can then be served for six months from the date of that notice.
- When a Section 21 Notice is served, all rent that has been paid for any period where the tenant ceases to live in the property must be repaid to the tenant.
Information source: Lauren Stacey at QualitySolicitors Burroughs Day