Changes to Section 21 Notices



From the 1st October the Deregulation Act (DA) and Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1646) will be introducing changes to the manner in which a landlord can end an assured shorthold tenancy under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

The Changes

Landlords will be prevented from making a retaliatory eviction after a tenant has complained of disrepair (section 33 and 34 DA).

Landlords will no longer need to specify in Section 21 notice’s the termination date of a tenancy as the last day in a period of a tenancy. (Section 35 DA)

A landlord will not be able to serve a section 21 notice within the first 4 months of a tenancy. And once a notice has been served, landlords will have 6 months from the date of the notice to issue proceedings for possession. (Section 36)

Regulation 2 of the Regulations will provide that under a new Section 21A a landlord will not be able to serve a section 21 notice unless a tenant is provided with an energy Performance Certificate without charge and a current gas safety certificate.

Under Regulation 3 of the Regulations a landlord will have to provide tenants with up to date versions of DCLG: the checklist for renting in England. A new copy must be provided every time it is updated. A section 21 notice cannot be served unless this requirement is satisfied at the time of service. This requirement does not apply however where:-

• The landlord has already provided the tenant with the latest version of the booklet under a previous tenancy
 
• A landlord is a registered provider of social housing.

Application

These changes to the form of Section 21 notices will apply to all ASTs created after 1 October 2015. This does not include periodic tenancies that came into being after 1 October 2015 which were fixed term ASTs.

Conclusions

Many tenants are likely to welcome the introduction of more stringent protection against eviction. However landlords are already highly regulated, these latest additions are unlikely to impress them. Regardless, from 1st October, Landlords will need to make certain that they are aware of the changes being introduced or they face the risk of invalid Section 21 Notices.

By Sarah Hartley, Paralegal