Landlords reminded of updated notice wording

A leading body representing landlords has highlighted a change to the wording of the notice used to seek an end to an assured shorthold tenancy in certain circumstances.

New legislation came into force on 6 April 2015 to the wording of the “Section 8 notice” that landlords in England must use to seek possession when a tenant is in breach of contract, usually because they have failed to pay their rent, under the Housing Act 1988.

The National Landlords Association said: “The new wording must be used for any Section 8 notices served in England on or after Monday 6 April 2015. If you have used the old wording, your case may be thrown out by a judge if you subsequently have to apply for a possession order.

“Any notices served prior to Monday 6 April 2015 will still be valid, if the original wording was used and they were served correctly.”

Research carried out by the NLA at the end of 2014 found that almost a third (32 per cent) of 1,079 landlords questioned in a survey said they had suffered rent arrears, the equivalent of around 500,000 landlords across the UK.

The research found that a typical landlord was owed £1,649 in outstanding rent, totalling £850 million worth of rent arrears across the UK. It also revealed that one in five landlords (22 per cent) feared that tenants would not be able to keep up rental payments over the next year.

The required wording of the Section 13 notice used to notify an assured shorthold tenant of a rent increase has also changed from 6 April.

Under such tenancies, a landlord can increase the rent after an initial fixed period if a rent increase clause is included in the tenancy agreement or the tenant agrees to the increase. If no such clause is included in the agreement, and tenants dispute the increase, landlords must serve a Section 13 notice.

At Palmers, our property specialists can provide expert advice on tenant evictions due to rent arrears under normal possession proceedings, including serving of Section 8 notices and the securing of orders for possession and the issue of warrants if a tenant does not leave by the date specified in a possession order.

Disputes inevitably arise between landlords and tenants, in both the commercial and residential sectors. We can assist in resolving issues through mediation, arbitration or adjudication, or litigation if necessary, with the aim of achieving fast, cost-effective solutions. For more information, please contact Andrew Skinner or Mark Harris.