New Rules On Section 21 Notices Make Evicting Tenants Harder10th Nov 2015
Landlords can no longer issue Section 21 notices of eviction in advance of short tenancies to speed up the process, warn Dorset solicitors Coles Miller.
Under the new Deregulation Act, Section 21 notices cannot be served in the first four months of a tenancy.
Coles Miller Partner Neil Andrews, head of the firm’s Commercial Department, said: “It was previously common practice for a landlord to serve a Section 21 notice at the start of a tenancy.
“That enabled the landlord to begin possession proceedings immediately if a tenant failed to move out at the end of the fixed term tenancy agreement.”
Also, Section 21 notices now have a shelf life of only six months: “If you don’t use a notice within this time, it expires and you cannot rely on it.
“You must issue proceedings within six months from the date it was served. If the notice expires, you will need to issue a new notice and offer a further two months’ notice to your tenant.”
For all tenancies that began from October 2015, any Section 21 notices not served in the prescribed form will be deemed to be invalid.
Furthermore, Section 21 notices cannot be served if the landlord has failed to address a tenant’s complaint about the condition of the property - ending the practice of retaliatory evictions.
“In order to address the complaint properly, the landlord will need reply within 14 days to acknowledge the issues and either rectify them or set a reasonable deadline for these repairs to take place,” said Mr Andrews.
“A Section 21 notice will also be invalid if the housing authority serves the landlord with an Improvement Notice to address the repairs,” he added.
At the start of a tenancy, landlords must serve tenants with the:
- most recent Gas Safety Certificate
- property’s Energy Performance Certificate
- government booklet How To Rent: The Checklist For Renting In England.
There is also a requirement for all properties rented after October 1 2015 to have carbon monoxide detectors installed.
Mr Andrews said: “There’s a certain irony in the fact that legislation called the Deregulation Act imposes a raft of new rules.
“That irony will not be lost on landlords who have had to comply with ever more onerous demands.
“This is a complex area of the law that requires expert legal advice. There are many pitfalls and the penalties for getting it wrong can be severe.”
For more information about landlords’ and tenants’ rights, please contact Coles Miller Partner Neil Andrews on 01202 673011.