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Ensuring you serve a valid section 21 notice on your tenant

Thu 19 Jan 2017

At Howland Jones, we work closely with Liam O'Shea, Director & Solicitor in Astle Paterson Solicitors’ Dispute Resolution & Litigation department. Below, Liam discusses how a landlord can ensure they serve a valid section 21 notice on their tenant.

Liam said “The vast majority of residential tenancies today are Assured Shorthold Tenancies (‘AST’). An AST provides a landlord with the ability to terminate an AST, once the fixed term of the AST has come to an end, without the need for them to show any reason why they wish for their tenant to vacate the property. A landlord merely needs to serve a notice on their tenant giving them usually at least 2 months to vacate, pursuant to section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (the ‘Notice’).

However, strict compliance with procedure and any pre-conditions is essential, as otherwise the Notice will be invalid.”

Liam continued “The most stringent of the pre-conditions relates to the deposit which may have been taken from the tenant.

Once the deposit money has been received, a landlord has only 30 days to first pay it over to, or to buy an insurance package from, one of the three Government backed schemes (the Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits or Tenancy Deposit Scheme) and secondly serve on the tenant an information sheet confirming, amongst other things, how the deposit has been protected and the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection scheme which has been used.

Should the landlord fail to do so within 30 days then they will not be able to serve a valid Notice.

Further, for all AST’s entered into after 1st October 2015, a Notice will not be valid if

 

  • it is given to the tenant within the first 4 months of the commencement of the AST;

 

 

  • it is given within six months’ of service by the local housing authority of an improvement or remedial notice following the tenant making a complaint about the condition of the property before the Notice was served;

 

 

  • if the landlord has failed to give to the tenant an Energy Performance Certificate for the property or a Gas Safety Certificate before the Notice was served;

 

 

  • if the landlord has not given to the tenant the leaflet “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” (available from the gov.uk website) before the Notice was served; or

 

 

  • if Court proceedings seeking possession of the property are commenced more than 6 months after the Notice was given to the tenant.”

 

Liam concluded “Problems with Notices are usually only discovered once the 2 month period has expired. In my experience, it is crucial that a landlord makes certain that the Notice is valid when it is given to the tenant as this will ultimately save them time and money. To that extent they will usually benefit from advice from either their letting agents or a Solicitor.”

Liam O’Shea, Astle Paterson Solicitors, Clay House, 5 Horninglow Street, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire DE14 1NG email: loshea@astlepaterson.co.uk phone number: 01283 531366

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