Further Changes to Section 21

Further Changes to Section 21

 You may have read about the Court of Appeal case of Spencer v. Taylor. This changed the interpretation of the law on section 21 so that now:

  • The easier section 21 (1) notice can now be served during statutory periodic tenancies,
  • and The more complicated section 21 (4) notice only needs to be served if there has never been a fixed term or if the periodic tenancy is contractual (i.e. if it is there because the tenancy agreement says so).

This remains for the time being, but the Deregulation Act will take away the requirement to give the 'last day of a period of the tenancy' in a section 21 (4) notice - which is the main thing that landlords tend to get wrong. So that is good news for landlords.

Other new changes (in England only) coming under the Deregulation Act 2015 are:

  • A new prescribed form of section 21 (not yet available)
  • Time limits on when you can serve and use a section 21 notice:
    • the landlord will not be able to serve a valid section 21 notice during the first four months of a tenancy
    • andthe landlord will not be able use a section 21 notice for proceedings for possession more than six months after the date given in the notice. Therefore if the landlord doesn’t issue possession proceedings during the 6 months from the date of service, the landlord will need to serve a fresh notice and then wait for it to expire.
  • Prohibitions on serving a section 21 notice if a landlord has failed to comply with various health and safety or energy performance obligations (yet to be specified), and;
  • Prohibitions on serving a section 21 notice if prescribed information (currently unknown but probably a statement of tenants’ rights) has not been served on the tenant first.
  • A requirement that the landlord refund a proportionate part of any rent paid in advance if the tenant leaves early after service of a section 21 notice.  

These rules will initially only apply to ‘NEW ASTs’ which start after these new regulations come into force on 1st October 2015. From the 1st October 2018 the rules will apply to ‘All ASTs’

There is a commencement order which brings some of these changes into force on 1 July 2015. However, the requirement for the new section 21 notice cannot come into force until the statutory instrument has been published.

At the moment post-election and the new government, it is unknown which (or whether any or all) of these new rules will actually come into force on 1 July2015/1 October 2015. I will of course update you as soon as I know.

Email a Friend

Please check you have entered all details correctly