New notice requirements for private landlords

From 01 October 2015, a number of new requirements will come into force  for landlords seeking to end tenancies by serving Section 21 Notices.

The changes are as a result of the Deregulation Act 2015 and the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015. They will initially apply only to tenancies which start on or after 01 October 2015 but will apply to all tenancies from 01 October 2018.

The new requirements are as follows:

  • Before serving notice, the landlord must provide the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate for the property and a current gas safety certificate
  • The landlord must also provide the tenant with a copy of the Communities and Local Government leaflet “How to Rent” before serving notice
  • A Section 21 Notice cannot be served within the first 4 months of a tenancy
  • A new prescribed form of Section 21 Notice must be used. Notices in any other format will not be valid.
  • A Section 21 Notice will expire 6 months after it is served and it cannot be relied on after 6 months.
  • The landlord is required to repay the tenant any rent they have paid in advance if the tenant leaves the property

Failure to follow any of the above will mean that a Section 21 Notice is not valid and cannot be relied upon by the landlord.

Landlords must also continue to ensure that they protect their tenants’ deposits in a deposit protection scheme before serving Notice, failing which the Notice will not be valid.

Ending assured shorthold tenancies has become increasingly complex for landlords in recent years in light of the various changes to deposit protection; the changes from 01 October 2015 will only increase the complexity. In particular, landlords and agents who serve Section 21 Notices at the same time as a tenancy is granted should note that these Notices will no longer be valid under the new law. More then ever it is recommended that landlords should seek legal advice before serving Notice to ensure that all requirements have been met so that possession can be expedited.

Jennifer Beynon is a solicitor specialising in Landlord Services at TV Edwards.

For further information email jennifer.beynon@tvedwards.com, alternatively call Jennifer on 02034408318