(co-written with Shaun Piesley, Paralegal)
A s.21 notice is a form of notice that a landlord must use in order to start the process of ending an assured shorthold tenancy. The s.21 notice will be served on a tenant specifying a 2 month notice for them to vacate the property.
From the 1st October 2018 all s.21 notices must use the prescribed Form 6A and comply with the following rules:
- Service of a Local Housing Authority notice related to health and safety issues will invalidate any section 21 notice served after having received the complaint from the tenant. There are limited exceptions to this, for instance where the landlord is a housing association or where the property is for sale;
- The s.21 notice cannot be served within the first four months of the AST;
- The rules under the Tenant Deposit Scheme have been complied with and prescribed information served on the tenant;
- An Energy Performance Certificate, Gas Safety Certificates and Government How to Rent leaflet have been sent to the tenant before serving the s.21 notice;
- Service of the s.21 notice is undertaken in compliance with both the statutory and tenancy agreement;
- Commence possession proceedings within 6 months from the notice being served on the tenant, unless more than two months notice is required by the tenancy to be given, in which case, proceedings must be commenced within the period of four months from that date.
So why is this important? Well informed tenants and their advisers will be checking through any notice they receive carefully to see if they are fully compliant with the above rules. If they are not they will often wait until the 2 months notice required under the notice is expired before alerting the landlord that the notice is flawed, if at all. They may wait until proceedings have been issued as a judge will also be looking to cross check the procedural requirements have been carried out before the possession order is granted and the new claim forms for possession have sections which must be completed certifying compliance with the above conditions for a valid notice.
Tip for estate agents – if you are serving the notices, make sure you have a checklist in place that covers all these points before the notice is sent and get a colleague to cross check all the steps have been undertaken.
If you require any further assistance on serving s.21 notices and the Prescribed Form 6A contact Nicola Davies.