Landlords beware – new rules may catch the unwary

The Deregulation Act 2015 (DA) introduced changes which came into force on the 1st October 2015 which apply only to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) granted after this date. From the 1st October 2018 the provisions will apply to all AST’s.

Serving a Notice to Quit (Section.21 Notice)

A Notice to Quit cannot be served in the first 4 months of the contractual term.

  • Possession proceedings will need to be issued within 6 months of serving the notice i.e a notice will have a life of 6 months.
  • From 1st July 2015 there has been a new prescribed form of section 21 notice to end a tenancy. Landlords also need to provide tenants with prescribed information on all tenancies created after that date – otherwise the s.21 notice will be invalid.
  • The s.21 notice cannot be served if a written complaint concerning lack of repair has been received from the tenant and the landlord has not responded within 14 days or; the tenant has complained to the housing authority which may serve a housing enforcement act notice. This is to prevent Landlords seeking to evict tenants who have a legitimate complaint on the state of the property.

If a landlord issues on an invalid Section 21 notice he may not know it is invalid until he has issued proceedings – by which time up to 3 months will have been wasted. It is essential to take proper professional advice prior to issuing a Section 21 Notice to Quit. Mistakes could prove costly.