Regaining Possession Of A Residential Property Under Section 21 Of The Housing Act 1988
What Is A Section 21 Notice?
As a landlord, you are able to terminate an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), even when there is no blame or breach of the tenancy agreement; this is known as a Section 21 Notice or a “no-fault” notice. The Government and Courts have, however, set out stringent rules to protect the tenants from eviction and a landlord must abide by the minimum requirements set by the law before a tenant moves into a property in order for a Section 21 Notice to be valid.
When Can I Use A Section 21 Notice?
Landlords can serve a Section 21 Notice (pursuant to the Housing Act 1988) on their tenant to terminate the tenancy no earlier than 4 months into the tenancy. This notice must be served on the tenant and must give no less than 2 months’ notice (periodical tenancies differ), and the Notice is valid for a maximum of 6 months.
If the notice period has lapsed and the tenant has not left the property, the Landlord is then permitted to make an application to the court for an order of possession in order to evict the tenant. In the case of Section 21 notices, the judge has the discretion to order possession (as opposed to other types of notices which have mandatory grounds).
A Section 21 Notice can only be used on an AST that is after a fixed tenancy has ended (unless the tenancy agreement allows you to) or during a tenancy that has no fixed end date (a periodical tenancy).
In all cases, to have a valid Section 21 Notice the landlord must have given the tenant:
– The property’s Energy Performance Certificate
– A copy of the current Gas Safety Record for the property before the tenant took occupation of the property
– A copy of the “how to rent” guide.
When Can’t I Use A Section 21 Notice?
You will not be able to use a Section 21 Notice in the following scenarios:
– If it is less than 4 months from the start of the tenancy
– The fixed term has not ended (unless the contact allows it)
– The property is not a “house in multiple occupation (HMO)” – this is a house with 3 or more occupiers sharing bathrooms and kitchens etc, for example a large flat share, and does not have a HMO licence from the council.
– The council has served an improvement notice on the property in the last 6 months
– The council has served notice in the last 6 months saying it will do emergency works on the property
– The tenants’ deposit has not been put in deposit protection scheme (for tenancy’s starting after April 2007)
– You do not have a landlord licence (if you live in Wales)
The rules on Section 21 Notices and trying to seek possession of your property are very stringent and complex. If you are seeking advice in relation to Section 21 Notices or orders for possession, please contact our Residential Property Department on 01494 773377 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.