Property lettings - changes affecting a Section 21

The Deregulation Act came in on 1st October 2015 and made changes which affect whether a landlord can serve a valid Section 21. All tenancies that began on or after that date, including renewals are affected. Statutory periodic tenancies are not if the fixed term tenancy commenced before 1st October. Michelle Hayter, Partner in our Dispute Resolution Team, has laid out a summary of the changes and what landlords and letting agents need to be aware of.

The main changes concern evictions using a Section 21 notice. There is a complete ban on serving a Section 21 notice within the first 4 months of a tenancy, although this does not apply to renewals or to statutory periodic tenancies. Section 21 notices now have an expiry date, 6 months after the date it was served, so there is a sense of ‘use it or lose it’. Periodic Section 21 notices cannot be enforced more than 4 months from the date the notice expires. Also, a landlord cannot serve a Section 21 notice unless they have given the tenant a valid energy performance certificate and a current gas safety certificate – without these documents, the Section 21 will not be valid.

Michelle says “A practical issue for landlords and letting agents moving forward will be being certain of the date that the tenancy began and whether it is before or after 1st October 2015, as tenants in tenancies beginning after that date must be provided with the certificates as well as the current Government ‘How to Rent’ booklet. Landlords will also have to carry out risk assessments which the landlord must undertake and more precise checks on whether the tenants have the right to rent in the UK. These changes mean that both landlords and letting agents must be on top of all the finer details, as otherwise they may face severe problems if they need to evict the tenant in the future.”

Our Dispute Resolution Team are based in Christchurch and cover Bournemouth, Poole, the New Forest and beyond. If you have any questions, you only have to ask us at Frettens. Please call 01202 499255 and Michelle, or her team, will be happy to chat about your situation.