As of 1 October 2015, the provisions regarding Section 21 Notices pursuant to the Deregulation Act 2015 come into force.
Please note that these provisions will only apply to new assured shorthold tenancies starting on or after 1 October 2015. This will then be extended to apply to all assured shorthold tenancies in existence as of 1 October 2018.
The new provisions are as set out below:
1. Compliance with prescribed legal requirements
The Deregulation Act brings into force the requirements of a landlord to serve an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and Gas Safety Certificates at the time that the tenant enters into occupation of the property. If these are not in place, no Section 21 Notice can be served. It will render invalid any Section 21 Notice served.
There have been suggestions that, at the time of serving a Section 21 Notice, for the avoidance of doubt, the EPC and Gas Safety Certificates are attached to the aforesaid Notice.
Further, no Section 21 Notice can be given by the landlord if a condition of the dwelling house or its common parts render the landlord in breach of any legislation regarding the same.
2. Landlords to provide prescribed information
Landlords are required to provide a tenant with a copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government booklet entitled ‘How to rent; a checklist of renting in England’ at the start of each assured shorthold tenancy. Again, if a Landlord fails to provide this information then no section 21 notice can be served as it was render the notice invalid.
Please note that this requirement does not apply to registered providers of social housing or if a landlord has already provided the tenant with an up to date version of the booklet under an earlier tenancy.
3. Prescribed form of Section 21 Notice
As of 1 October 2015, there is now a prescribed form of Section 21 Notice. Please note that this only applies to assured shorthold tenancies that are granted on or after 1 October 2015.
You will not need to use this form if the new tenancy is simply a statutory periodic tenancy arising from the expiry of a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy agreement granted prior to 1 October 2015.
4. Notice periods under Section 21(4) and time limits
For all new assured shorthold tenancies granted after 1 October 2015, you will no longer have to worry about the Notice expiring on the last day of a period of a tenancy. The new provisions provide that you are to give two months’ notice before you seek possession.
For all new assured shorthold tenancies granted after 1 October 2015, a Section 21 Notice must not be served on a tenancy within four months of the commencement of that tenancy. For any replacement tenancy, the Section 21 Notice cannot be served within four months of when the original tenancy began. Further, you must commence possession proceedings within six months of the date that the Notice was given. In the case of fixed terms tenancies proceedings must be commenced within 4 months of the expiry of the notice.
5. Preventing retaliatory evictions
a) A landlord cannot serve a Section 21 Notice within six months of the service or suspension of a relevant Improvement Notice issued by the local authority.
b) A landlord cannot serve a Section 21 Notice where a tenant has made a complaint to the landlord regarding the condition of the property and the landlord has failed to provide a response to the complaint within fourteen days of receipt, served a Section 21 Notice in reply or failed to provide an adequate response.
c) If the response is inadequate, the tenant can then go to the local authority to carry out an inspection of the property. If the local authority serves an improvement notice, or carries out emergency remedial action, any Section 21 Notice already served on the tenant will be deemed ineffective.
d) For any proceedings struck out by the Court, a further Section 21 Notice cannot be issued by the landlord for six months.
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