What`s the fuss over Section 21 Notices?

That puts a greater onus on private landlords and agents to be aware of the imminent changes around the corner affecting a lot of those tenancies that have been periodic for several years.

In order to gain possession of most properties, landlords and agents serve notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, as amended. The rules have been simplified over the periodic notice, so that it now a notice can expire on any date so long as it is:

i) After the end of a fixed term; note the notice cannot be served until four months of a tenancy has elapsed so it means that, effectively a six month tenancy will run for six months and a day.

ii) By use of a break clause written into the tenancy agreement.

This notice is now in prescribed format so only by using the correct notice will it be valid and effective.

From October, all tenants in older tenancies than 2015, will have to be given:

i) A valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

ii) A valid gas certificate

iii) Prescribed Information for the deposit held plus the deposit scheme information

iv) Current version of the How to Rent Guide.

Landlords or agents will also have to ensure that they:

i) Ensure the deposit is protected by one of the government approved schemes

ii) Check that the property has adequate smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors if required. It would be a wise precaution to check that they have been tested, presumably before or on the start date of this new legislation.

iii) Apply and obtain a licence for a House in Multiple Occupation, if required.

For new tenancies this has become second nature but failure to do them in the correct time frame is leading to more problems in court, due to an inability to validly serve a Section 21 notice.

The notice has also been given a specific six month lifespan from the date stated, after which it is invalid to use. There is also a proposal to remove the “no fault” reason for the notice, which is a worrying potential setback for landlords going forward.