We have seen a significant increase in enquiries from landlords seeking possession of their rental properties since the lifting of the moratorium on residential property evictions in England at midnight on 31 May 2021.
Our previous article (Residential Repossession – All change from June 1st 2021) addressed the amount of notice to be provided to tenants in section 21 notices as of 1 June 2021, being at least four months’ notice. From 1 October 2021, the notice period required to be provided in a section 21 notice, is due to reduce to two months’.
Prior to applying to the Court to issue a claim for possession, either under the standard possession procedure or accelerated possession procedure, landlords should carefully check that the section 21 notice they have served is valid.
If a section 21 notice is not valid and a landlord proceeds to issue a claim for possession, the claim is likely to be dismissed by the Court and the landlord would be required to ensure they address any points that have led to the invalidity of the section 21 notice, before issuing the tenant(s) with a new section 21 notice. Following this action the landlord would be required to issue a fresh claim for possession.
How to avoid Delays and Expense
This delay and additional expense can be avoided, if landlords and their letting agents take care to check the following points, prior to the service of a section 21 notice:
- Check and ensure that the appropriate amount of notice will be given to the tenant – for section 21 notice served after 1 June 2021, this will be four months;
- Check and ensure that you are not attempting to serve a section 21 notice within the first four months of the tenancy;
- Check that the tenant’s deposit was protected in a tenancy deposit scheme and the tenant was provided with the relevant prescribed information within 30 days of receipt of the deposit;
- Check the tenant was provided with a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate and a current copy of the gas safety certificate (if applicable);
- Check that the tenant was provided with a copy of the government guide How to Rent: The checklist for renting in England
- Check that the tenant was not charged a banned fee by the estate agent or a deposit of more than five weeks’ rent;
- Check that you have not been served by the local council with an improvement notice or emergency works notice regarding repairs required to your home.
If the above points appear in order, landlords and their estate agents should ensure that they used the current version of the prescribed form of section 21 notice (known as form 6a) that is published and made available by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government on the Government website.
If any of the above points are not in order, early legal advice should be taken on how to ensure that a valid section 21 notice can be served on the tenant(s).
If you are a landlord or tenant who requires advice regarding if a section 21 notice served is valid or a landlord considering your options regarding seeking possession of your property, our dispute resolution team at rhw will be able to assist you.