Questions about using section 21

flatsHere are a couple of questions to the blog clinic from Oliver about section 21:

I was just wondering if its true that an S21 has to be served on the rent payment day- so, imagine the rent day is the 25th April, and the S21 gets served on the 30th April, is the S21 valid?

Also, I noticed some S21 served tenants stop paying rent upon being served their notice. If they do that, can you simultaneously sue them in small claims court for the rent whilst also doing the accelerated possession S21, or does the landlord have to drop the S21 and start a new eviction process, with a different notice, covering the rent arrears if you want any chance of retrieving them?

Good questions, both of these are things which confuse people.

Serving sections 21 notices

With section 21, its not the day you serve it on thats important, but the date the notice expires and the amount of notice you give the tenants.

The main problems are with notices served during the periodic tenancy.  Here it does not matter which day in the month you serve it on.

However you have to put a date in the notice which is the last day of a period of the tenancy.  AND the notice period must be not less than two months after the date of service (assuming your tenant is paying rent monthly).

So, if the last day of a period of the tenancy is the 25th, serving the notice on the 30th is fine.   Serving it on ANY day is fine.

Provided, when you serve it, it is not less than two months before the date you have in your notice, and the date you have in your notice must be the 25th of the month next, after two months after you serve it.

You can always protect your position by including a saving clause – then you will be safe.

Suing for rent

Yes, you can bring a concurrent claim for rent in the small claims court at the same time as your section 21 claim.

However you can only claim for rent which has actually fallen due at the time you issue proceedings, so some landlords prefer to wait until the tenant has gone, so they know the total amount they owe.  Otherwise you may need a series of claims.

Note that you can find out a lot more about section 21 from my ebook Assured Shorthold Tenancies : Your Complete Guide to Section 21.

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Important note. If you are reading an old post, remember that the law may have changed since it was written.




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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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