Section 21 Retaliatory Eviction (England Only)

Section 21 Retaliatory Eviction (England Only)

The following outlines forthcoming changes in relation to the Section 21 notices, some of the changes will apply from July 2015, with further changes coming into force from October 2015.

Section 21 is one of the most important and significant sections in the Housing Act 1988. As you will know, after service of a properly drafted section 21 notice, a landlord can evict his tenant as of right, without having to give a reason. Arguably it was the cause of the 'buy to let industry' – as under the previous Rent Act 1977, landlords found it almost impossible to recover their property from tenants.

 Retaliatory eviction: Deregulation Act 2015

When these regulations come into force in October 2015, section 21 notices will be invalid in the following circumstances:

  • if it is served after a tenant complains about the condition of their rented property and the landlord fails to provide an adequate response,
  • and the tenant then goes to the Local Authority and complains and they serve a 'relevant notice' on the landlord

 An adequate response, is one which:

  • gives a description of the work the landlord intends to do to deal with the complaint
  • and sets out a timetable for doing it.

 The landlord cannot serve a notice within 6 months of a Local Authority serving a relevant notice to them

 A relevant notice is basically an improvement notice or a notice regarding remedial action being taken by the Local Authority.

 There are exceptions if:

  • it was the tenant who caused the damage to the property being complained about,
  • and/or the property is genuinely on the market for sale (but this must be the open market and there must not be any intention to sell to a connected party).

The same rules will also apply to the common parts of a building (for example stairs and hallways outside rented flats) if the landlord had a 'controlling interest' and the condition of the common parts affected the tenants use of his rented property.

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