You can draft the section 21 notice yourself, or you can instruct lawyers to do this for you. If you are going to draft a section 21 notice yourself, make sure you use Form 6A (Covid-19 version if it applies).
Due to COVID-19 currently, you are required to give three months notice, at the time of serving, check to see if the three-month rule still applies. It is crucial to ensure the dates on the section 21 notice are correct.
What can make a Section 21 notice invalid?
You cannot serve a section 21 notice during the first four months of the assured shorthold tenancy.
When serving a section 21 notice, you must use a Form 6A.
The tenant is entitled to a notice equal to the rental period if the tenant pays rent quarterly or every six months. The notice period for section 21 cannot be less than two months (under COVID-19 – is three months). It must be at least two months.
Your section 21 notice may be invalid if the following apply to you:
(1) The council has issued an “Improvement Notice” or “Notice of Emergency Remedial Action” within the last six months, then you will not be able to serve a section 21 notice.
(2) You, or your agent, has charged fees to the tenant unlawfully, and these have not been repaid to the tenant.
(3) Property is in Wales and has not been registered with Rent Smart Wales, and the landlord or the letting agent does not have a licence (Applicable in Wales only)
(4) You do not have, or have not given to the tenant an EPC (with a rating of E or higher if the tenancy started or was renewed after 1 April 2018)
(5) You had failed to issue the tenant with a valid gas safety certificate when the tenancy commenced.
(6) You failed to issue the tenant an up to date “How to Rent booklet” at the start of the tenancy.
(7) Protected the tenancy deposit, in 30 days of receiving the deposit money.
(8) Issued the tenant, with a deposit certificate & the deposit prescribed information within 30 days of receiving the money.
You have the local and national licensing in place if they apply to the tenancy. e.g. HMO licence or a local Selective Licensing
Do you need a valid EPC to serve a section 21?
All landlords with assured shorthold tenancies in England also need to have given the tenants an energy performance certificate (EPC). The Deregulation Act requires that the EPC is issued to the tenant before the tenancy begins.
Can you serve a section 21 notice by email?
Check to see what the tenancy says regarding service of notice. Serving notice by email can be contentious, and should be avoided.
If you have served a notice by hand or posted the notice by hand, you can as a backup, serve it by email too.
Generally, if section 21 notice is served by email, it will be deemed active on the day it was sent. However, it must be submitted before 4.30 pm on a working day. If you are going to serve a section 21 notice by email, it must be sent after 4.30 pm; it will be deemed to be served, on the next working day.
Can you serve a section 21 notice at the start of the tenancy?
No, you are not permitted to serve a section 21 notice, during the first four months, of an assured shorthold tenancy.
When can I serve, a section 8 notice on my tenant?
Section 8 notice has 17 Grounds, the usual grounds used are grounds 8,10 and 11, which are grounds for rent arrears.
The other Ground commonly used are ground 12. Ground 12 is useful when a tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy.
Ground 14 has no waiting period, you can serve a section 8 notice, under Ground 14, and immediately issue a claim.
However, you should be conscious of the potential pitfalls in using this Ground. Seek legal advice before using this Ground.
The wording for ground 14 are:
“The tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house—
(a) has been guilty of conduct causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to a person residing, visiting or otherwise engaging in a lawful activity in the locality, or
(b) has been convicted of—
(i) using the dwelling-house or allowing it to be used for immoral or illegal purposes, or
(ii) an indictable offence committed in, or in the”
Alternatively, you can instruct someone like Landlord Advice UK who are experts in eviction. There cost inclusive of drafting and serving the section 21 notice 6A is £69.
Should you need advice you can contact Landlord Advice UK on 020 3903 2000
Source: British Landlords Association
Author: Marc Attwater
Date: 8th of March 2020