Law News,Lettings News

Landlords and Agents: Deadline for New Section 21 Rules Approaches

Rose Jinks - September 25, 2018

Confusion remains ahead of new Section 21 rules being introduced next month. Landlords and letting agents are being reminded about incoming changes to Section 21 notices next month for tenancies set up before October 2015.

Currently, a landlord must provide two months’ notice when issuing a Section 21 eviction notice to any tenant on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) or periodic tenancy signed after October 1, 2015.

Under the 2015 rules – part of the Deregulation Act 2015 – a landlord cannot serve a Section 21 notice within the first four months of the original AST, if this occurred on or after October 1, 2015.

The Act also says that a Section 21 notice is only valid for six months from the date the notice was given.

After that time has elapsed, a new notice will have to be issued by the landlord.

From October 1 – a week away – older tenancies will be brought in line with the new rules.

Buy-to-let lender Commercial Trust has said it is clear that the rules on two months’ notice and waiting four months before service, as well as the six months validity rule, will apply to older tenancies pre-2015 – but it is unclear if other parts of the legislation will apply to legacy contracts.

It cites a lack of clarity over regulations that a Section 21 notice can only be issued if a tenancy was accompanied by the latest version of the Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide and if an up to date Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Gas Safety Certificate have been provided.

David Smith of solicitors Anthony Gold has also said there are “grey areas”.

He said the obligation to provide a How to Rent guide won’t apply to tenancies that began before 2015.
Addressing requirements to have supplied Gas Safety Certificates and EPCs, Smith said: “The 2015 regulations which specify the prescribed requirements expressly state that they only apply to ASTs granted on or after October 1, 2015, and not to statutory periodic tenancies that came into being on or after October 1, 2015, at the end of an AST granted before that date.

“It therefore seems that until new Regulations are passed to clarify this position, there are no prescribed requirements in existence applicable to old tenancies.

“It is possible that individual judges in county courts will arrive at their own interpretations of the rules. It is certainly an area that requires clarification.”