From the 1st October, the Deregulation Act 2015 will come into force and affect all landlords in England and Wales. The act introduces a number of important changes and rules regarding when a landlord can serve a Section 21 Notice, in order to evict tenants and regain possession of their property. Here we'll provide a quick guide to the new act and how it will affect you as a landlord.
Section 21 Notices cannot be issued within the first four months of a tenancy.
One of the new changes to Section 21s is that a landlord cannot serve them within the first four months of a tenancy. Once a Section 21 is served (after the four month period) it is valid for a maximum of six months. If a tenancy is renewed, the landlord can serve a Section 21 Notice at any point.
As it currently stands, landlords do not have to follow set rules when it comes to giving written notice of a Section 21. They could technically write it on any old scrap of paper and put it through their tenant’s door. Under the new rules, landlords must use a new template, which has been created for the Section 21 form. Providing the tenancy has started on or after 1st October 2015, this form can be issued to end it.
In order to successfully issue a Section 21 Notice on tenancies that begin on or after 1stOctober 2015, landlords must ensure they have fulfilled certain requirements and prescribed the necessary information to their tenants. This includes:
The landlord must ensure that they have had all fixed and portable gas appliances in their property inspected by a Gas Safe registered engineer. A certificate must have been issued to the tenant before a landlord can hand them a Section 21 Notice.
Landlords must provide their tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate for the rented property, in order to be eligible to issue a Section 21 Notice at a later date. There are some exceptions to this requirement, such as properties that are not required to have an EPC e.g. where a room is being let out on a single assured shorthold tenancy in a House in Multiple Occupation.
All landlords are required to provide their tenants with a copy of The Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘How to Rent – The Checklist for renting in England’ guide. This can be downloaded online and supplied in either electronic format or hard copy. It is important that a copy of this guide (and not just a link) is given to the tenant at the start of their tenancy.
Landlords will only be eligible to serve a Section 21 Notice to a tenant if they issued them with information about their deposit at the start of the tenancy. This information should explain why and how a deposit is collected and held, as well as the requirements tenants need to meet in order to get their deposit back at the end of a tenancy.
A complaint has been made – If a tenant has made a written complaint to the landlord about the condition of a property (prior to a Section 21 Notice) then it cannot be issued.
A Landlord fails to respond to a complaint within 14 days – Landlords are required to respond to written complaints from their tenants within fourteen days. Failure to do so will mean that a Section 21 Notice cannot be issued.
A complaint is made to the local authority – If a tenant has made a complaint to the local authority, which has gone onto serve an Improvement Notice or Emergency Remedial Notice to the landlord, then a Section 21 Notice cannot be issued.
Section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015 applies – Section 33 prevents landlords from being able to serve a retaliatory eviction notice.
Landlord has not complied with the tenancy deposit legislation – If the landlord has failed to comply with this legislation or provide tenants with information regarding their deposit, they cannot serve a Section 21 Notice.
Property is unlicensed – If a rented property is not licensed but should be licensed, then a Section 21 Notice cannot be issued to the tenants.
The new rules only apply to tenancies starting on or after 1st October 2015. In 2018 they will apply to all tenancies.
The Deregulation Act 2015 will apply to all new assured shorthold tenancies that start on or after 1st October 2015. Shorthold tenancies made before 1st October 2015 will be eligible to the changes from 1st October 2018.
For more information about the Section 21 changes, feel free to get in touch with the team here at Hudsons Property.