It is vital for landlords to keep up to date with legislative changes – getting them wrong can lead to problems with possession, fines and, in the worst case scenarios, even prison! What is the updated Section 21 Notice and how does it affect landlords?
A Section 21 Notice is the document you serve on a tenant when you wish to get possession of a rented property. It is used for a no fault possession, meaning when a landlord simply requires possession of the property. A Section 21 Notice can be served to coincide with the end of a fixed term tenancy or when the tenancy has been extended as a periodic tenancy.
A Section 21 Notice must give the tenant a minimum of two months notice of the landlord’s intention to regain possession of the property and cannot expire within a fixed term period.
Previously, you would serve s.21 (1)(b) or s.21 (4)(a), depending on whether you were ending a fixed term tenancies or a periodic tenancy. These forms are no longer acceptable. Instead, you must now use the new form s.21 6a in all cases.
Generally speaking, the only time the method of service of a Section 21 Notice will become an issue is if the tenant does not vacate the property and the landlord needs to apply to the court for possession. Fortunately, this is not that common. However, it is wise to take some steps to enable you to prove that you have served the notice if necessary.
Serving a Section 21 Notice is often done by hand. Service by hand enables the landlord to discuss the notice with the tenant so that everyone understands what the notice means and can be helpful to ensure all goes smoothly. It would be worth having a witness to this however who is able to confirm you handed the notice to the tenant if necessary.
If you are unable to hand the notice to the tenant in person, hand delivering it through the letter box is also an option. It is a good idea to take a photo for proof that you have carried this out though in case the tenant disputes receiving the notice.
If you wish to serve the notice by post, you should obtain proof of postage. You can use proof of postage as as proof of service if required.
Being a landlord and making sure you keeping up with current legislation can be a bit of a headache. Handing over the letting and management of your rental property to a professional agent, such as Seddons, means that you can be confident that you are doing everything by the book. Handing over the responsibility for correct service of notices and other legal requirements to the agent offers complete peace of mind.
Seddons are currently offering a free property check for all residential landlords. To take advantage of this offer and make sure you are up to date with all the current legislation for your rental property, just pop in to one of our branches or contact our lettings department.