Data* collated by the British Landlords Association show an alarming number of landlords and letting agents serving section 21 notices which are invalid. For a section 21 notice to be valid landlords must fully comply with a number of requirements which have come into force in last few years.
Mr Sasha Charles from Landlord Advice UK has said “it is evident the raft of various legislation that has recently been introduced is overwhelming and difficult for some landlords and letting agents to comprehend.”
The British Landlords Association e-learning courses that are to be rolled out 1st October 2018 fully cover a module just on and dealing with section 8 & 21 notice.
Landlords should consider and check the following when serving a section 21 notice;
- wait 4 months after the commencement date of your original tenancy
- use Form 6A from members download page
- You must give at least two months’ notice
If the rent payable under the tenancy is quarterly or every six months, you must give one full rental period of notice.
If you have got the dates wrong on the notice this could make the section 21 notice invalid.
Landlord must start court action within 6 months from the date the section 21 notice was served.
The section 21 notice is invalid if it’s served and you have failed to provide on or before the tenancy commenced:
- a copy of current Gas Safety Certificate
- the latest 2018 version of the leaflet ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’ at the time your tenancy started
- a valid Energy Performance Certificate for the let property
You must fully comply with the tenant deposit legislation.
Your section 21 notice is invalid if any of these apply:
- Tenants deposit wasn’t protected in a tenancy deposit scheme
- Tenants deposit was protected more than 30 days after your tenant paid it
- if you have failed to provide to the tenant the tenant deposit scheme prescribed information.
If you failed to protect the deposit as above and your tenant has rent arrears, you can offer to use the deposit monies towards the rent arrears. You must have this request / agreement in writing from the tenant. If you have any money in surplus after setting it against rent arrears you must return this money to the tenant. Again obtain receipt for any monies given back to the tenant. Seek legal advice regarding this as it can be a complex issue.
A section 21 notice may be invalid if you served a section 21 notice after your tenant complained in writing about repairs the the let property. It becomes invalid after the council sends you an improvement or emergency work notice.
If the above applies you cannot serve a section 21 notice within 6 months of receiving a notice from the council. This is commonly known as a retaliatory eviction.
Many houses in multiple occupation “HMO”s, need a licence. Some councils now require all private landlords to have a licence.
If you are required to have a licence and do not have one you cannot serve a section 21 notice.
Ask the council if you need a licence to let your property.
Tenancy started before 1 October 2015
You’re tenant is entitled to at least two months’ notice if they pay your rent weekly, monthly or every four weeks.
If your tenant pays rent quarterly or every six months, they must be given one full rental period of notice.
A section 21 notice with an incorrect notice period isn’t valid.
*Survey commissioned by The BLA – Data collated from from Landlord Advice UK & Regency Law.