Subject to certain legal requirements, a landlord can evict a tenant of an assured shorthold tenancy by implementing a Section 21 Notice
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 provides the landlord of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) the right to serve notice to quite on his tenant in order to end a tenancy agreement.
A Section 21 can be served without a particular reason. The landlord may simply want his property back either at the end of the first six months, or at any time thereafter for a periodic tenancy, or at the end of a fixed term tenancy.
A Section 21 Notice to quit is served as the first step in every eviction process. The notice gives you two months to leave, before the landlord seeks possession of the property.
The rules pertaining to a Section 21 notice depend upon whether the tenancy was granted on or after the 1st October 2015
TENANCIES BEFORE THE 1ST OCTOBER 2015:
There is no prescribed form for a Section 21 notice, but it must be in writing. Notices can be given at any time and they do not expire. The Section 21 notice period will depend upon whether the tenancy started off as a fixed term tenancy or has always been a periodic tenancy.
Notice Served where the tenancy starts as a fixed term tenancy
- A Section 21 notice requires not less than 2 months’ notice stating that the landlord requires possession.
- This Section 21 notice may be served during the fixed term, on or after expiry of the fixed term, requiring possession on, or sometime after the end of the fixed term period.
Notice served where the tenancy has always been periodic
A notice complying with Section 21(4) must be used. The notice must require possession after a date which is the last day of a period of the tenancy and which is
- Not earlier than two months after the date the notice was given and
- Not before the date when a notice to quit could require possession
TENANCIES GRANTED ON OR AFTER THE 1ST OCTOBER 2015:
The Deregulation Act 2015 made significant amendments to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. These amendments apply to ASTs’ granted on or after the 1st October 2015 (except statutory periodic tenancies arising at the end of a tenancy granted before the 1st October 2015), and all ASTs’ in existence on or after the 1st October 2018.
Section 21 Notice Requirements: Period and Fixed Term
- A Section 21 notice just has to be two months. There is no longer the requirement relating to the last day of a period for tenancies that have always been periodic
- A Section 21 notice cannot be given in the first four months of the original tenancy
- Possession proceedings must be started within six months of giving the section 21 notice
- A Section 21 notice must be in the prescribed form (From 6A) in accordance with section 21(8) Housing Act 1988 and Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015/620 (as amended by SI 2105/1646).
Section 21 Notice Requirements: Flexible AST
Where there is a fixed term AST of at least two years granted by private registered provider of social housing, then there is an additional requirement to serve a six month notice informing the tenant that anew tenancy will not be offered at the end of the tenancy. The notice must be served six months before seeking possession via the court.
INTERPRETATION AND AMENDING A SECTION 21 NOTICE
|Any spelling mistakes, or incorrectly listed names, dates and contacts will render the notice invalid. Check the spelling when you’ve been served a Section 21 notice.|
Section 21 notices are strictly interpreted. The Court does not have the power to allow amendments to be made to a Section 21 notice. If a Section 21 notice does not require possession on the last day of a period it will be invalid.
WHEN MAY A SECTION 21 NOTICE NOT BE SERVED?
- When the Landlord is in breach of not providing a the tenant with a ‘prescribed requirement’:
The Assured Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015/16 sets out the notice requirements for a landlord. This does not apply to a private registered providers of social housing. The landlord must provide the tenant with:
- Regulation 2(a): An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- Regulation 2(b): Gas Safety Certificates (annually)
- Regulation 3(3): The ‘How To Rent’ DCLG Booklet
- When the Landlord has failed to comply with the conditions of the tenancy deposit protection scheme;
- Secure The Deposit: Section 213(3) of the Housing Act 2004 requires landlords of ASTs’ to protect the tenants deposit within an authorised scheme within 30 days of receiving the deposit.
- Prescribed Information: Sections 213(5) – (6) requires a landlord to give the prescribed information about the deposit protection to the tenant (or any relevant person) in a prescribed form within 30-days of receiving the deposit.
Penalty: Section 214(1) sets out that the tenant can claim an amount equivalent to 1- 3 times the amount of the deposit in compensation from the county court when the landlord fails to comply with either of the two above requirements.
Under no circumstances can the landlord forcefully evict you from the property. Section 21 only grants them the authority to seek possession from the court. Only the county bailiffs can physically remove you from your home.
- Prohibition of Service of Section 21 Notice: Section 215(1) confirms that a section 21 notice may not be given at any time when:
- The deposit was not protected in an authorised scheme within 30-day of the start of the tenancy, or
- Information about the protection of the deposit has not been complied with
But a Section 21 notice may be relied upon if there has been a breach if:
- The deposit is returned to the tenant (less any agreed deductions), or
- A claim for the non-protection of the deposit has been dealt with by the county court.
FIND OUT IF YOUR DEPOSIT HAS BEEN SECURED
If you are a tenant of an AST simply call the three authorised agencies below to confirm that your private landlord has secured your tenancy deposit, as he is legally required to do.
- The Deposit Protection Service – 0330 303 0030
- My Deposits – 0344 980 0290
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme – 0300 037 1000