The way landlords can serve notices under Section 21 has changed, and there are a number of essential new areas you must be aware of, which we’ve summarised below.
What is Section 21?
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 is the notice a landlord can give to a shorthold tenant to regain possession of a property, and is the first step to obtaining the property back when there is “no fault” alleged.
However, in October 2015 a number of critical changes were made which affects the way landlords can serve the notice.
What are the key Section 21 changes?
- The correct documentation (Form 6A) must be used when serving a notice
- If there’s been a written complaint from the tenant to the landlord regarding the condition of the property, the landlord must have provided an adequate response
- New time limits as to when a Section 21 can be served have been granted – proceedings may not begin after six months or where two months’ notice is required to be given
- Landlords must have supplied the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate
- Tenants must have been given the government’s ‘How to rent guide’
- As a result of notice being served, tenants now have the right to an apportionment of rent paid in advance for the period after the tenancy has come to an end.
A full, detailed list of all changes can be found on www.GOV.uk.
How do the Section 21 changes affect landlords?
With the new requirements in mind, landlords will need to take greater care when serving Section 21 notices. If you’re uncertain about whether you can serve a notice, legal advice should be sought.
To make life easier in light of the changes, we recommend:
- Addressing complaints quickly, and properly
- Making sure you provide the correct energy and gas certificates at the beginning of the tenancy
- Beginning proceedings immediately and with efficiency – a missed timeframe under Section 21 could mean you will lose the right to issue possession proceedings and a new notice will have to be served.
If you’re concerned about the Section 21 changes and want to find out more, speak to one of our advisors today on 0207 078 0214, or visit the GOV.uk website.