We’ve published quite a lot about the new regulations in from 1st October, the smoke alarms and section 21 rules, in our website news and technical articles, but I guess you can’t get too much of a good thing; so here’s a reprint of Tessa Shepperson’s latest newsletter article on the subject – as a solicitor she has a great talent for simplifying things legal:
These rules only apply to new, or renewal tenancies in England (ie NOT Wales)
This means either a completely new tenancy, or a tenancy where the tenant has been given a new fixed term via a renewal form or (as the letting agents call it) memorandum,
In addition to the existing tenancy deposit and HMO requirements, the landlord must give at the start of the tenancy:
- An Energy Performance Certificate
- A gas safety certificate and
- The most recent edition of the governments How to Rent booklet/
The How to Rent booklet is only available in electronic format and can be found here
The How to Rent booklet will also need to be given again to tenants whenever the tenancy continues either as a fixed term OR periodic tenancy – but only if there is a new version.
If these items have not been given to tenants then the landlord cannot serve a valid section 21 notice. However they can be served late.
Anti-retaliatory eviction rules
A landlord cannot serve a valid section 21 notice within 6 months of the service of one of the following Local Authority notices:
(a) a notice served under section 11 of the Housing Act 2004 (improvement notices relating to category 1 hazards),
(b) a notice served under section 12 of that Act (improvement notices relating to category 2 hazards), or
(c) a notice served under section 40(7) of that Act (emergency remedial action);
If prior to that, the tenant has made a complaint about more or less the same thing, then any section 21 notice served since the complaint will also be invalid.
These rules do not apply if:
The property is ‘genuinely’ up for sale (ie is not being sold to a business associate)
It is being repossessed by the landlords’ mortage company
An order for possession has already been made
There are also rules about landlords having to give within 14 days, a response which tells the tenant what they are going to do about their complaint and the time period for taking action, but this does not appear affect the section 21 rules I have just discussed.
New time limits
A section 21 notice cannot be served within the first four months of a completely new tenancy (although this does not apply for renewals of tenancies or to periodic tenancies).
Proceedings cannot be brought after six months after the giving of a section 21 notice or, where the notice period is more than two months, more than four months after the date given in the notice.
The section 21 notice
There is a new prescribed form (which is not yet up on Landlord Law). You can see it with the (amended) regulations here
Note that where these regulations apply, there is no longer any need to give a date which is ‘the last day of a period of the tenancy’ for notices for periodic tenancies.
Note that the section 8 notice has been amended for the tenancies these rules apply to, as it needs to refer to the prescribed form in the bullet points. Again, this is not yet up on Landlord Law but I can provide a copy to any Landlord Law member who needs it.
You will find the latest copies of these notices, free to download here