Expert advice for landlords on section 21 notices

The Deregulation Act 2015, which came into law on 26 March this year, is introducing a number of new changes to Housing Act 1988 Section 21 notices. There are significant implications for private landlords.  The new provisions come into force at various times over the course of 2015.

Section 21 notices are used to regain possession of a property which has been let under an assured shorthold tenancy agreement (AST).

The old rules did not require any particular form of section 21 notice. Only the information which it had to contain was prescribed. The new Act has brought in a new standard and mandatory form of notice, which must be used for all tenancies starting on or after 1 July 2015.

For tenancies beginning on or after 1 October 2015, landlords will no longer be able to serve a section 21 notice in the first four months of the tenancy. At present, many landlords serve a notice at the start of a tenancy, as this allows them to quickly regain possession at the end of the initial six-month fixed period if necessary, for example if the tenant is problematic.

But under the changed procedure, any section 21 notice that a landlord now serves will only have a life of six months from the date of service (and an even shorter period in relation to notices where the tenancy has not yet come to an end).

Therefore, landlords will need to “use it or lose it” in relation to section 21 notices previously served and will no longer rely be able rely on a notice of termination served at the beginning of an AST in order to regain prompt possession.

At Palmers, we can assist private landlords at every stage of a tenancy, from the start through to possession, including the granting of new tenancies and bringing a tenancy to an end compliantly.

For more information, please contact Mark Harris at our Basildon office at markharris@palmerslaw.co.uk or on 01268 240000.