Changes to Section 21 Notices

Fri 2nd Oct 2015

There have been a number of changes introduced in recent years for landlords wishing to gain possession of residential properties at the end of assured shorthold tenancies (“AST”). Additional changes came into force on 1 October 2015 which place further requirements on landlords wanting to serve a section 21 notice.

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 introduced the following changes:-

  • Section 21 notices must now be in a prescribed form
  • A landlord is unable to serve a section 21 notice unless it has provided the tenant with:

a) An energy performance certificate

b) A copy of the gas safety certificate

c) The government booklet “How to rent: a checklist for renting in England”

Additionally, a landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice where a tenant has made a written complaint about the condition of the property and it has not been dealt with adequately by the landlord. There is currently no clear guidance on what is considered an “adequate response” and all of the above changes will potentially have a huge impact on landlords seeking to gain possession of their residential properties.

In the past, a landlord was able to serve a section 21 notice when granting an AST, however, as of 1 October 2015 they are unable to save the notice within the first 4 months of the tenancy. Time limits have also been imposed on the notices, they are now only valid for six months from the date of service (where they were previously valid indefinitely). After six months you will need to re-serve a new s21 notice and wait a further two months before issuing possession proceedings.

Landlords who fail to comply with these changes will struggle to regain possession of their property. Whilst these changes currently only apply to tenancies which commence on/after 1 October 2015, they will apply to all tenancies from 1 October 2018, so as a landlord it is worth implementing these practices now to ensure you do not get caught out further down the line.