Attention residential landlords: are you using the correct form of Section 21 Notice?

Attention residential landlords: are you using the correct form of Section 21 Notice?

For assured shorthold tenancies, the Section 21 Notice is the notice you must serve on the tenant as the first step in obtaining possession of the property.

It’s a “no fault” notice. In other words, you don’t have to have any reasons or grounds for serving it.

A court has to make a possession order in your favour as long you’ve correctly served as a valid Section 21 Notice on the tenant, and that notice has expired.

The new rules

Up until recently, there was no form prescribed in law for the Section 21 Notice. Just a few requirements set out in the Housing Act 1988 about what the notice had to contain. That’s still the case for tenancies that started before 1st October 2015.

However, that has now changed for residential assured shorthold tenancies that came into being on or after 1st October 2015.

There’s now a prescribed form, known as Form 6A, that must be used for those tenancies. This new form of notice is helpful to both landlords and tenants in many respects.

For landlords, it lists all the requirements you must comply with under the Deregulation Act 2015 for the notice to be valid, such as:

  • Protecting any deposit in a scheme
  • Giving the tenant an EPC and gas certificate
  • Giving the tenant the Government’s How to Rent booklet

It also comes with reminders that it may not be served in the first four months of the tenancy, and in connection with the new retaliatory eviction provisions that were brought in by sections 33 and 34 of the Deregulation Act 2015.

You can use the new Form 6A for all Section 21 Notices. Even those for pre-1st October 2015 tenancies.

But the disadvantage to that is it may cause confusion for pre-1st October 2015 tenants and lead them to believe that all of the new Deregulation Act provisions apply to them.

For example, it might lead a tenant to incorrectly believe that they have the protection of the retaliatory eviction provisions. Or that the notice is invalid because the landlord should’ve served the How to Rent booklet or an EPC.

It’s probably simpler for you, and clearer for tenants, if you stick to the previous form of Section 21 Notice that you were using. Unless Form 6A is essential.

Need advice? We can help you

Please call Rachel Garton on 01482 324252.

Or email Rachel here.

You can find out more about how we can help you here.

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