The new Section 21 notice is for use with new tenancies after 1st of October 2015 and all tenancies after 1st October 2018.

A new Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) Section 21 notice has been released which aims to simplify the possession claim process and reduce errors. Statistics show that a very high proportion of possession claims submitted to the courts by landlords and agents are rejected on technical grounds, most commonly because the notice dates are wrong in relation to the tenancy end date.

Now, the two previous s21 notices are to be combined into one single notice to be used for both fixed-term and periodic tenancies, without the need for complicated end-dates previously required with periodic tenancies.

Under the new regulations, landlords submitting claims for possession (s21) will need to provide evidence that they have provided:

  • Their tenants with EPCs, and where appropriate Gas Safety Certificates
  • Their tenants with the current version of the DCLG Booklet on “How to Rent”
  • A current Tenancy Agreement
  • A correctly served s21 notice with proof of service
  • Where applicable, details of the deposit protection and proof of service of the prescribed information (s213) notice
  • Where applicable, details of the tenancy licensing arrangements.
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These new regulations apply to new tenancies from 1st October 2015, and then to all tenancies from 1st October 2018.

The new regulations will require landlords to have served the key items of information above to their tenants BEFORE they can serve a valid combined new Section 21(1) and Section 21(4) notice. Note, the new notice is a prescribed form notice which must include certain prescribed information – see links to notices below.

Whereas until now it was possible to serve a s21 notice at any time during the tenancy term, including from the 1st day, and effectively there was no expiry date, now the notice cannot be served until 4 months after the tenancy starts and expires after 6 months from serving.

In addition, a valid s21 notice cannot be served for 6 months after a tenant has complained about repairs and a local authority has issued an improvement notice.

Where a landlord fails to provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), and when appropriate a gas safety certificate, tenants are no longer required to conform to the one-month or 28 day period of notice to quit, for a periodic tenancy. (No tenant’s notice to quit is required in a fixed-term AST)

Landlords are also required to provide their tenants (via e-mail – if they agree) with the most up to date version of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) document titled “How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England”. You can access the current document here

The Statutory Instrument enacting the new AST notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 can be seen here

The new s21 notice with explanatory note can be seen here

See a pdf version of the s21 notice here

The  EXPLANATORY NOTE provided with the regulations is reproduced here:

(This note is not part of the Regulations)

These Regulations introduce a new prescribed form for a notice under section 21(1) or (4) of the Housing Act 1988 (“the Act”) informing a tenant that the landlord intends to seek recovery of possession of a property let on an assured shorthold tenancy (“a section 21 notice”) and new restrictions on the use of the “no fault” eviction procedure for assured shorthold tenancies where a landlord has not complied with certain obligations.

Regulation 2 prescribes certain requirements for the purposes of section 21A of the Act (compliance with prescribed legal requirements): these are the requirement to provide tenants with an energy performance certificate under regulation 6(5) of the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 and the requirement to provide tenants with a gas safety certificate under regulation 36 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998. However, the requirement to provide tenants with a gas safety certificate is limited to the requirement on a landlord to give a copy of the relevant record to the tenant and the 28 day period for compliance with that requirement does not apply. The “no fault” eviction procedure for assured shorthold tenancies is not available to landlords at a time when either of the requirements has not been complied with.

Regulation 3 requires a landlord to provide tenants with a copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s booklet entitled “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” which can be found at the following web address: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent. Landlords are not required to supply a further copy of the booklet each time a different version is published during a tenancy. The requirement does not apply where a landlord is a registered provider of social housing or where a landlord has already provided the tenant with an up-to-date version of the booklet under an earlier tenancy. The “no fault” eviction procedure for assured shorthold tenancies is not available to landlords at a time when the requirement has not been complied with.

Regulation 4 amends the Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) Regulations 2015 to introduce a new prescribed form for a notice under paragraph (1) or (4) of section 21 of the Act informing a tenant that the landlord intends to seek recovery of possession of a dwelling-house let on an assured shorthold tenancy. Regulation 4 also makes a consequential amendment to Form 3 and inserts a new regulation which requires the Secretary of State to review the operation and effect of the requirement to use the prescribed form and publish a report within five years of 1st October 2015 and within every five years after that. Following a review it will fall to the Secretary of State to consider whether the prescribed form should remain as it is, or be revoked or be amended. A further instrument would be needed to revoke the prescribed form or to amend it.

Regulation 5 requires the Secretary of State to review the operation and effect of regulations 2 and 3 of these Regulations in the same manner as the requirement to use the prescribed form.

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