A section 21 notice is used by a landlord to gain possession of a property that has been let under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). This notice can be served with no explanation required to those in “periodic” tenancies. The notice has recently been amended following concerns that tenants across the country were too scared to report any issues they had in fears that their landlord may serve them with notice so as not to have to deal with issues or complaints regarding the property. This practice became known as “Revenge Eviction”.

As of October 1st, certain changes have been made to the Section 21 notice. What exactly are these changes and how can they affect you as either a landlord or tenant?

Minimum time period to elapse before service of Section 21 Notice

Before changes were made, a section 21 notice could be served from the first day that a tenant moved in. Now a landlord must wait at least four months to serve this notice, allowing the new tenant a reasonable period to report any issues with their accommodation.  If a property is considered to be in a state of “disrepair” the landlord will no longer be allowed to issue a Section 21 notice until six months after an improvement notice is served by the council.

Extending the Section 21 Notice period

The notice period for a tenant to leave has been extended from two, to six months, allowing a longer period for them to find alternative accommodation, if the tenant should leave before the six months is up the landlord must then repay any payments made in advance.

Section 21 Notice document requirements

Tenants must now be provided with a valid Energy Performance Certificate, an annual Gas Safety Certificate and a copy of the governments “How to Rent” guide either before or on the date they start their tenancy. If any of these are not provided, a Section 21 cannot be served.

Whilst these changes will no doubt benefit tenants and reduce the likelihood of “Revenge Evictions” it is important to remember that there can be problem tenants as well as problem landlords, who will take advantage of these new changes to the Section 21 notice.

Landlords should ensure their properties are up to standard, and to have procedures in place to ensure low repair times on potential issues tenants may have with the property. Making checklists and having documented evidence that all requirements of the new laws are met are essential to upholding a case for a Section 21 notice.

Most importantly is for both landlords and tenants alike to familiarise themselves with the changes made and their rights as much as possible so as to avoid any future complications.

Download this free Section 21 Notice template