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Critical changes to Section 21 Notices


The first is that the changes introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015 will apply to all tenancies from 1st October 2018. The new rules have applied to new tenancies for some time but from 1st October landlords and agents must ensure that they use the new style prescribed Section 21 Notice for all tenancies. Any old style Section 21 notices will be invalid.

Many additional requirements introduced by this legislation now apply to all tenancies. Most, however, require items to be given to the tenant prior to entering into the tenancy. Of course this is not possible for a pre-existing tenancy.

I suggest, however, that it would be best practice to still ensure that the following are given to the tenant forthwith:

  • Gas safety record

  • Valid EPC

  • Latest version of the Government’s ‘How to Rent’ Guide

  • An HMO licence – if required

The law now says that a Section 21 notice will be invalid if these items have not been given to the tenant prior to the tenancy. By ensuring compliance at the earliest possible moment, a good defence could be mounted should the matter land up before the Courts.

Remember also that a Section 21 Notice can now expire on any day providing a full two months’ notice is given. (Different rules apply if the tenancy was a periodic tenancy from day one.) It is obvious to me, but is now law, that any overpayment of rent must be repaid when the tenant vacates the property.

The notice cannot, however, be served until four months of the tenancy have elapsed and it only has a ‘shelf life’ of six months – ‘use it or lose it’.

An Improvement Notice served by the Local Authority will mean that Section 21 notices will be invalid for six months.

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