A brief guide to the new format Section 21 notices

Posted on October 5, 2015

Section 21 notices: New format from 1st October 2015

 

Following on from the prescribed format for Section 8 notices which came into effect on 6th April 2015, on 1st October 2015 a prescribed format for Section 21 notices (by virtue of The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015) must also be used.

 

What should I know about the prescribed format?

 

The new 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 AST that they are dealing with before proceeding to serve a Section 21 notice;

 

1. 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.

 

2. 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.

 

3. 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.

 

4. Where the landlord has not protected the tenant’s deposit under one of the Government’s three approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes.

 

5. Where a property requires a licence but is unlicensed.

 

Any other changes I should be aware of?

 

It is not a change, but you should be aware that the note to Section 2 of the Section 21 notice regarding the date for expiry of the notice is confusing. There is no change to the notice period that you must give a tenant on the notice, and it remains that, in a case where Section 21 (1) (b) applies, for a fixed term, expiry must be the last day of the fixed term. In a case where Section 21 (4) (a) applies two clear months’ notice must be given with the expiry date being the last day of a rental period.

 

If you are in any doubt about what is the expiry date of your Section 21 notice please contact Ashley Taylors Legal who will be happy to advise you. By incorrectly dating your Section 21 notice you may cause it to be invalid.