A series of articles looking at the new rules regarding section 21 notices – applicable in England only – for tenancies created after 1 October 2015.
One of the good things to come out of the changes coming into for in England tomorrow (1 October 2015) is that there is now a prescribed form of section 21.
It has been noticeable over the past 25 years or so that there have been far more problems, and far more challenges in the courts to section 21 notices than there have been to section 8 notices where there is a prescribed form.
This is because we all had to make up the section 21 form, and often people got it wrong.
However, from 1 February 2016 (in most cases) this will not be a problem. You will use the form in the regulations here.
The new prescribed form
For completely new tenancies created on or after 1 October 2015 there is a prohibition on serving a section 21 notice during the first four months of the tenancy. So you will not be able to use it until 1 February.
Although it will need to be used for new replacement tenancies served on or after that date as they do not have the four month prohibition.
The regulations do say that you can use the new form for earlier tenancies. But I would not recommend it.
The form lists at the top, all the various hoops (discussed in earlier posts on this blog) that landlords will have to jump through before the notice can be validly served. As these will not apply to pre 1 October 2015 tenancies it will only confuse your tenants if you use a form which talks about them.
So that gives us all a bit of time to get it up on our systems.
As you will probably notice if you click through to the regs – they are amended. The original form drafted had an error in it.
Intensive scrutiny of the form by the nation picked this up though and the DCLG drafting team have managed to get a new form out just in time. So:
- Don’t use the form attached to the original regulations (as its wrong), and
- Don’t use the amended form for pre 1 October 2015 tenancies unless it is a renewal.
Section 21(4) notices simplified
We also have a welcome simplification to section 21 notices, added by the new section 21(4ZA)
In the case of a dwelling-house in England, subsection (4)(a) above has effect with the omission of the requirement for the date specified in the notice to be the last day of a period of the tenancy.
I think we will all be very glad to see the back of that!
An alternative notice
If you have lived in the property yourself before letting it, or will be wanting the property back to live in yourself later (or for your spouse or civil partner), you will probably be better off using ground 1 of the Housing Act Schedule 2 as a ground for possession.
There are far fewer complications.
So make sure you add a ground 1 notice to your tenancy agreements from now on.