Everything You Need To Know About Section 21

Everything You Need To Know About Section 21

Are you a landlord wanting to notify your tenant that you want to bring a tenancy to an end? You should therefore appreciate that a tenancy cannot be terminated during the fixed term unless the tenant has breached the terms of the agreement.

If the terms of the agreement have not been breached then your only option is to serve a section 21 notice which offers the minimum mandatory time frame for the tenant to find alternative accommodation but, as stated, will only allow for enforcement once the fixed term has concluded. If your tenant does not surrender the property and offer vacant possession, and once the notice period for the section 21 notice has elapsed, you can start the eviction procedure by filing formal recovery proceedings with the county court under whose jurisdiction the property falls. Once you have obtained a formal declaration from the court that the tenancy has been terminated, and should your tenant still refuse to surrender the property by the date given by the Judge to leave the property, then you will be permitted to enforce the order by instructing a court approved bailiff to visit the property and ask the tenant to leave.   Only once you’ve followed this procedure to the letter do you remove any recourse which may arise from the tenant claiming they were unlawfully evicted.

What Is Section 21?

A section 21 notice is regarded as a non-fault eviction but there are a myriad of requirements which must be met for enforcement in the county court to be successful.  As with any county court procedure the tenant will be able to challenge the validity of the claim and/or the evidence filed in support so your activity needs to be very robust, but should the tenant’s defence fail then they may be subject to adverse court costs which you can potentially seek to recover.

When serving a section 21 notice it is essential that the requirement for enforcement by way of the county court have been met.  If you’re unsure then speak to a firm with a well regarded landlord and tenant division, and a strong track record for achieving successful outcomes for their clients.  Anyone serving a section 21 notice should put the effort in advance of service to ensure court proceedings can be concluded successfully otherwise it may undermine all future enforcement activity.  Whilst many tenants leave on receipt of a section 21 notice there are a good number whose circumstances prevent them from leaving and so all activity should be predicated on the view that court proceedings will be necessary, even if in reality that turns out not to be the case.

Man filling out a form

Section 21(a) Vs 21(b)

Fortunately, the old system has been done away with and landlords no longer need to work out which notice to serve for the type of tenancy they have.  There is a standard section 21 notice (termed Form 6a) which can be used and must be used for all assured shorthold tenancies which commenced after 1st October 2015.

Making A Section 21 Invalid

Here are some scenarios when a Section 21 notice can be made invalid:

  • If the type of tenancy is not assured shorthold tenancy agreements.
  • If thedate for enforcement is still with the contractual or fixed-term.  A break clause may validate a section 21 notice which permits enforcement during the fixed but it is essential that the wording for the break clause is clear and robust for enforcement purposes.
  • If a form other thanForm 6a is served where the tenancy began or was renewed after 1st October 2015.
  • If the salient informationon the notice does not marry with the tenancy agreement, and there is no valid explanation for the discrepancy.
  • The deposit was not protected within 30 days of its receipt and compliant prescribed information served on the tenant in parallel.
  • The de-regulation documents (Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), Gas Safety Certificate (GSC) andHow to Rent guide were not served on the tenant prior to serving the section 21 notice for any tenancy which commenced or was renewed after 1st October 2015.
  • The property is not licensed when it should be (Selective Licensing or House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)).

Serving The Notice

It is crucial that, as a landlord, you serve the notice correctly and ensure the dates on the notice account for the aspect of service.  It is a very common failure for landlords and letting agents to fail to take into account the aspect of service when serving notices – in that a notice may not be deemed served on the day it is sent under a certain set of circumstances and enforcement will be undermined if the minimum mandatory time frame has not been offered.  This may not may not be clear at the outset if the person serving the notice only has a rudimentary understanding of the requirements for successful enforcement.

Further, the rules currently vary quite markedly between properties located in England and properties located in Wales.

You can opt for tenant eviction services Kent with a residential eviction expert such as Landlord Assist.  Their national coverage will ensure your enforcement activity is robust no matter where your property resides.

Let the professionals handle the heavy lifting to give you peace of mind. Check out Landlord Assist based in Kent. They offer tenant eviction services and landlord legal services right across England and Wales. If you need help to issue Section 21 notice, get in touch with Landord Assist for free, impartial advice or visit their website for more information on their services.

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