Posts with tag: section 21 notice changes

Expert Says Official Guidance on Revenge Evictions Contradicts the Law

Yesterday, ministers published new guidance for the private rental sector, stating that tenants will be able to avoid eviction by complaining about repair issues to the local authority, without telling the landlord or letting agent.

The landlord or agent would not be aware of any issue and thus could not address the problem before the renter instead goes to the local authority.

If the local authority decides to address the issue, the tenant cannot be served with a section 21 notice for six months, at which point the landlord or agent would learn of the problem.

Expert Says Official Guidance on Revenge Evictions Contradicts the Law

Expert Says Official Guidance on Revenge Evictions Contradicts the Law

The allegedly flawed guidance on revenge evictions was described by a lettings expert as “ludicrous”.

He believes the guidance contradicts the legislation.

The footnote to the new guidance reads: “Where the local authority has served an improvement notice or notice of emergency remedial action, the tenant is protected from eviction for six months from the date of service of that notice, regardless of whether they raise the issue with the landlord first.”

However, the law states that the tenants should raise repair issues first with the landlord or agent, who must then give a quick response.

Only if there is no response, or an inadequate one, the tenant can go to the local authority, which might then serve a notice.

The Director of Fixflo – which specialises in reporting repairs – Rajeev Nayyar, says he could not believe what he read in the guidance footnote.

He says: “If the tenant does not have to tell the landlord or agent of a repair issue, how are they expected to remedy a problem they know nothing about?”

He believes that the new guidance is incorrect, “with the potential to lead tenants, landlords and agents, with severe consequences.”

He adds that the guidance seems to have been rushed.

Nayyar continues: “The provisions are premised on the fact that a landlord should not serve a section 21 notice in retaliation for tenants requesting a repair.

“As such, the notification of a repair request by the tenant to their landlord is both conceptually and factually a necessary part of any section 21 process that could be considered retaliatory.

“The guidance states that if the local authority has served an enforcement notice or emergency remedial action notice then a tenant will be provided with protection from eviction for six months from the date of notice irrespective of whether they have first raised the issue with their landlord.

“This conflicts with the legislation, other sections of the guidance and common sense.

“If followed, it has the potential to mislead tenants as to their rights, and agents and landlords as to the necessary steps to better protect their position in light of the change in law.”1 

The footnote is footnote 9 on page 9:


Most Tenants are Unaware of New Eviction Law

Published On: October 1, 2015 at 4:00 pm


Categories: Landlord News

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A huge 88% of tenants are unaware of the new law introduced today, 1st October, that protects them from revenge evictions, according to a study by the National Landlords Association (NLA).

Most Tenants are Unaware of New Eviction Law

Most Tenants are Unaware of New Eviction Law

The law, part of the Deregulation Act, will prevent landlords from ending a tenancy using a section 21 notice, or the no fault ground, if they do not address a complaint about the state of repair of the property made by their tenant to the local authority.

The NLA is urging local councils to provide a clear structure of how they plan to deal with complaints, to ensure that genuine issues are taken seriously and that false ones do not prolong the possession process.

CEO of the NLA, Richard Lambert, says: “These kinds of evictions are extremely rare but we have to make sure that complaints by tenants don’t just get lost in the system, regardless of whether they’re legitimate or not.

“The majority of landlords only choose to end a tenancy if it’s absolutely necessary, so we have to make sure that the system isn’t abused by those simply trying to prolong the evictions process.”

He continues: “We all know that local councils are under-resourced, but housing problems must take priority. If a tenant complains about a potentially hazardous issue then both they and their landlord should have a clear expectation of how and when the council will deal with it.

“If councils fail to act on complaints then it will undermine the law and tenants’ confidence in a system that’s supposed to protect them.”1

The survey also asked tenants why their last tenancy ended. It found:

  • 9% of tenants were asked to leave a property after asking for repair or maintenance work to be conducted.
  • 82% feel assured by the new law.
  • 78% said their last tenancy ended at their own request.
  • 15% ended as the landlord wished to sell the property.
  • 4% ended because the tenant could no longer afford the rent.
  • 1% ended as the tenant was in arrears.




One in Four Landlords Do Not Provide Tenancy Agreements

Around one in four landlords are not providing their tenants with written tenancy agreements, reveals a study by flat sharing website, EasyRoommate.

This revelation arrives just days before new legislation is enforced, which will make it difficult for landlords and letting agents to evict renters without first complying with specific regulations.

One in Four Landlords Do Not Provide Tenancy Agreements

One in Four Landlords Do Not Provide Tenancy Agreements

From Thursday 1st October, a valid section 21 notice can only be served if the tenant has been provided with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), a gas safety certificate and a copy of the most recent version of the How to Rent booklet.

However, according to the EasyRoommate survey, many landlords do not provide the very basic paperwork required, with 25% of tenants stating that their landlord did not offer them a written rental contract.

The study also found that 25% of renters said that their landlords did not always make urgent repairs on issues such as plumbing, central heating, electrics and roof leaks.

An EasyRoommate statement reads: “For landlords who do not uphold their responsibilities, the time for change is now.

“The Government is determined to crack down on rogue landlords and drive them out of business. Among the measures that have been introduced by the Government, such as protecting tenants against retaliation eviction serving under section 21, rogue landlords will be heavily fined for housing offences, such as:

  • “Providing a local authority with false or misleading information following a statutory enquiry.
  • “Permitting or causing overcrowding.
  • “Illegally evicting or harassing a residential occupier.
  • “Continuing to let to an illegal immigrant.
  • “Any offence under the Housing Act 2004.”1

Chief Executive of EasyRoommate, Karim Goudiaby, says: “We believe that flat sharing can be a wonderful experience, given the right conditions.

“Because we don’t want to leave to chance, we have a dedicated moderation team working around the clock to ensure the advertised flats are in decent living conditions.

“Rogue landlords are far from being the majority, but, once in a while we see landlords trying to fit 20 tenants in a four-bedroom flat, or advertising packed rooms looking more like a fire hazard than a home.

“That’s why no listing is published on the site before it has been reviewed by the moderating team. We look at the description, pictures, rent price… anything that can give us an indication of the living conditions.”1 

The research also revealed that around 20% of renters are still not offered deposit protection.






Important Section 21 Changes

Important changes regarding section 21 notices, affecting landlords and letting agents, will be implemented in a matter of weeks through the Deregulation Act 2015.

The main changes apply to the rules on serving a section 21 notice, via the Housing Act 1988, which terminates a tenancy.

The new rules will be enforced on 1st October and apply to tenancy agreements entered into on or after that date.

A lawyer of Greenwoods Solicitors, Michelle Cox, has compiled the following guidance.

“The main changes to be aware of are:

  • “It will no longer be possible to serve a section 21 notice until the tenant has lived in the property for a minimum of four months. This is designed to stop landlords serving a section 21 notice as soon as a tenant moves in. As before, the notice can’t expire in any event before the end of any fixed term.
  • “A section 21 notice will only be valid for six months from the date it was given. This means that if the tenant doesn’t leave, possession proceedings must be commenced within six months of the service of the section 21 notice. Different rules apply where the notice period set out in the tenancy agreement is more than two months.
  • “A section 21 notice will no longer be invalid if the date of possession given on it is not the last day of a tenancy period. This has traditionally been one of the main reasons that a section 21 notice fails. As long as a full two months’ notice is given, then unless another unconnected error is made, the section 21 notice will be valid.
  • “Landlords will be unable to serve a section 21 notice in circumstances where it is in breach of its legal obligations to a tenant. This includes obligations as to the condition of the property, the health and safety of the occupants and failure to provide an Energy Performance Certificate [EPC] or a valid gas certificate for the property.
  • “When a section 21 notice is served, all rent that has been paid for any period where the tenant ceases to live in the property must be repaid to the tenant. This has implications where a tenant who has paid their rent decides to leave when they receive the section 21 notice rather than when the notice expires. Where a tenant pays a full month’s rent but then is required by the section 21 notice to vacate or voluntarily vacates mid-way through the month, the tenant is entitled to be reimbursed the overpayment of rent for that period.
  • “One change that is already in force relates to the protection of deposits. All deposits ever taken which are still being held must now be protected. Once complete, the deposit protection certificate and all prescribed information must be served on the tenant. If any deposit has not been protected or returned to the tenant, a section 21 notice cannot be served.”1