A section 21 notice is one of two ways in which a landlord can seek possession of their rental property back from their tenants (the other being a Section 8, which will form part of a later article).
A Section 21 notice is the most commonly used method of seeking possession. It can be served any time after the end of month four of a fixed term tenancy and at any point during a periodic tenancy. It provides the Tenant with a two month’s notice of the date of which the landlord will seek possession.
All it involves is the completion of a two-sided form (now a form 6A) which is then served on a Tenant. Sounds relatively simple, right? Unfortunately, not.
There is a raft of scenarios where a Landlord cannot serve a Section 21 and a seemingly endless number of hurdles the Landlord must clear for the Section 21 to be correctly issued and served.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of reasons why a Section 21 notice cannot be served/ won't be valid:
- During the first four months of a fixed term tenancy (the original tenancy)
- Where the Landlord is prevented from retaliatory eviction under section 33 of the Deregulation Act
- Where the landlord has not provided the tenant with any of the following documents
- The EPC for the property
- A valid Gas Safety Certificate for the property
- The DCLG’s “How to Rent” guide
- Where the landlord has failed to comply with deposit protection legislation, including but not limited to protection, within the right time frame and issuing of all relevant documents to the tenants within strict time limits
- Where the property requires a House of Multiple Occupation licence and doesn’t have one
- If the Section 21 does not provide for sufficient notice
- Where the landlord cannot prove service of such notice or it is done in a way not agreed within the tenancy agreement
- If the Section 21 information is incorrect
- If six months have passed since the issuing of the Section 21 notice
Even assuming all the above is undertaken correctly, the tenant doesn’t actually have to leave at on the date specified by the section 21 notice. The notice is one for ‘seeking possession’, not for eviction. Eviction is provided for by the courts.
In practice, and with the help of good management, the vast majority of tenants will leave on or before the date seeking possession.
At Redmayne Arnold & Harris we will serve section 21 notices on behalf of our landlords under our Fully Managed service. We have strict processes in place to ensure that all areas are covered so that there is no uncertainty with regards to the validity of the notices we serve.