Residential Property Possession: Changes to the Section 21 Regime
The writer has long been an advocate of the Section 21 route for possession of rented residential property for his Landlord clients. The Section 21 route involves possession on the grounds of expiry of the original term of a tenancy or, in the case of a periodic tenancy, after the prescribed period of notice. Subject to carefully adhering to the correct procedure and ensuring that there has been compliance with the requirements relating to tenancy deposits, the Landlord has an absolute right to possession which is in invaluable.
The regime has been significantly changed by The Deregulation Act 2015 which affects all assured shorthold tenancies entered into after 1st October 2015 and then all assured shorthold tenancies from 1st October 2018.
The legislation has imposed further obligations on the Landlord in pursuing the Section 21 route for possession which include:
• A requirement to supply the Tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate.
• Providing the Tenant with details of the rights and responsibilities of the Landlord and Tenant
A valid Section 21 Notice to be served if these requirements have not been met.
The changes also prevent a Landlord from serving a Section 21 Notice if he or she has been served with a relevant Notice from the Local Housing Authority following a complaint by the Tenant concerning the condition of the property.
There is now a prescribed form for the Section 21 Notice (previously the Landlord only had to ensure that certain wording was included in the Notice) and a Landlord may not pursue a Section 21 possession claim more than six months after the service of the Notice.
The previous scheme created some difficulties for Landlords seeking to pursue their own possession claims (the Court would strike out claims that had not followed the correct procedure), under this new regime Landlords must now be even more careful in their pursuit of a Section 21 possession. Given the further requirements it is strongly suggested that legal advice be taken before commencing any such proceedings.
For advice on Landlord and Tenant matters including the preparation of Tenancy Agreements and possession proceedings, please contact Patrick Farrington, Partner or Patrick Nelson, Associate on 01785 211411.
13 November 2015
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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