The Deregulation Act 2015 - Changes To Section 21 Notices

New legislation which came into force on 1 October 2015 introduced a number of changes which affect whether or not a Landlord can serve a Section 21 Notice on an assured shorthold tenancy in England.

These new rules will only apply to new assured shorthold tenancies entered into on or after 1 October 2015.  In cases of assured shorthold tenancies which started before 1 October 2015, the old Section 21 regime will continue to apply, including those where the fixed term ends and becomes periodic after 1 October 2015.

The changes for assured shorthold tenancies which start on or after 1 October 2015 can be summarised as follows:-

1.    The Landlord has to comply with prescribed legal requirements to:-

  • Provide with the tenant with the Energy Performance Certificate for the property;
  • Provide the tenant with a current Gas Safety Certificate;
  • Provide the tenant with a booklet called “How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England”.  In certain circumstances this document will need to be supplied again to the tenant.

2.    For assured shorthold tenancies that begin on or after 1 October 2015, a Landlord cannot serve a Section 21 Notice within the first four months of the tenancy. 

3.    Once a Section 21 Notice has been given, possession proceedings must be commenced within the 6 months of service of the Section 21 Notice.  In other circumstances the period will be 4 months after the end date specified in the Notice.

4.    There is now a prescribed form for a Section 21 Notice which must be used for all assured shorthold tenancies starting on or after 1 October 2015.

From 1 October 2015 Landlords also need to be aware of new regulations regarding the installation of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.

Complaint by Tenant/Retaliatory Eviction

A Section 21 Notice will be invalid if, prior to service of the Notice, the tenant made a complaint in writing to the Landlord about the condition of the property. Upon receipt of a complaint the Landlord will have to comply with very strict timescales and procedures.

Although, at present, the provisions will only apply to assured shorthold tenancies in England granted on or after 1 October 2015, it is important to note that, from 1 October 2018, the provisions will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies in existence, irrespective of whether the tenancy began prior to 1 October 2015.

The new legislation is complex and the experts in our Housing Team can provide guidance to Landlords to ensure full compliance.

For more details contact Suki Dhoopher 020 8290 7363

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