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Changes to Section 21 Notices

On October 2015 some significant changes were made to housing law in England. These changes increase the level of protection afforded to tenants. 

The most important changes affect landlords' ability to recover possession of their premises at or after the end of the term of an assured shorthold tenancy. 

From 1 October there will be;

  1. a longer list of invalidating factors
  2. changes to do with the timing of service of a Section 21 Notice and the timescale for issuing possession proceedings. 
  3. a new prescribed form of Section 21 Notice. 

In light of the Deregulation Act, from 1st October 2015 several more restrictions came into play whereby Landlords will be unable to serve a valid Section 21 Notice. 

Invalidating factors now include where;

The tenant has made a valid complaint about the condition of the property and instead of addressing the complaint the Landlord serves a Section 21 Notice. The is know as "retaliatory eviction". This restriction comes into play where the local authority has served an improvement notice or an emergency remedial action notice under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This is to try and eradicate retaliatory evictions, which the charity Shelter estimate can make up for over 200,000 notices to tenants per year. 

Or when the landlord has failed to provide the tenant with any of the following:

  1. a valid energy performance certificate
  2. a current gas safety certificate
  3. a copy of the publication "How to rent: the checklist for renting in England" published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

A new prescribed form of Section 21 Notice will need to be used to terminate tenancies that start on or after 1st October. Use of the prescribed form is optional for existing tenancies but from 1st October 2018 the new form must be used for all tenancies.