More than a year ago now, on 1st October 2015 a prescribed format for Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 notices (by virtue of The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015) was published.
What should I know about the prescribed format?
The prescribed format provides for five circumstances in which you may not serve the notice as outlined below. Landlords and managing agents should ensure that none of these five circumstances apply to the Assured Shorthold Tenancies that they are dealing with before proceeding to serve a Section 21 notice;
- You cannot serve the Section 21 notice if the tenant has resided in the property for less than 4 months. This prevents the practise of Landlords and managing agents serving precautionary Section 21 notices at the outset of the AST.
- Where the landlord is prevented from retaliatory eviction under Section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015.In outline, Section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015 provides that, where a complaint has been made to the Landlord regarding the condition of a property in writing, that complaint was not responded to within 14 days, or an adequate response was not given, and the council have served a relevant notice on the Landlord regarding the condition of the property, a Section 21 notice may not be served, and if it is served it will be considered invalid.
- Where the landlord has not complied with their requirements under SI 2015/1646.This refers to The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 which contain the new format notice. The Regulations also outline (at section 2 (a) and (b)) that energy performance and gas safety certificates should be provided to the tenant and (at section 3) that the document “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” must be provided to the tenant at the outset of the AST (and on renewal). This document is available from the gov.uk website in electronic format.
- Where the landlord has not protected the tenant’s deposit under one of the Government’s three approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes.
- Where a property requires a licence but is unlicensed.
You can find a template Section 21 notice and a guide to the Section 21 eviction process here
If you require any further advice on the Section 21 eviction process or any general legal advice please do not hesitate to drop by our Legal Advice Clinic at the Somerstown Community Centre every Monday (10am – 1pm), or The John Pounds Centre every Wednesday (1pm – 4pm). Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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