The Deregulation Act 2015 introduced new rules in relation to obtaining possession through serving a section 21 notice. There are now legal requirements and prescribed information requirements which need to be complied with. These provisions came into force on 1 October 2015. They apply to all ASTs granted on or after 1 October 2015. From 1 October 2018, the rules (except for some minor exceptions) will apply to any AST.
The following will need to be checked before issuing a S21 notice:
1. Has any tenancy deposit been taken? & if so has it been properly protected?
The “initial requirements” of an authorised scheme must be complied with by the landlord within 30 days from the date of receipt of the deposit (section 213(3), Housing Act 2004 as amended by section 184 of the Localism Act 2011). Section 184 of the LA 2011 extended the period for compliance from 14 days. The extended period only applies where the deposit has been received by the landlord on or after 6 April 2012 when section 184 came into force.
2. Has the tenant been provided with ‘prescribed information’ about the deposit?
The landlord must give the tenant the prescribed information within 30 days of receipt of the deposit (section 213(5), HA 2004 as amended by section 184 of the LA 2011). S184 of the LA 2011 extended the period for compliance from 14 days. The extended period only applies where the deposit has been received by the landlord on or after 6 April 2012 when section 184 came into force.
3. Has an energy performance certificate been provided to the tenant?
There is a requirement to provide an energy performance certificate to a tenant free of charge in accordance with regulation 6(5) of the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012.
4. Has a gas safety certificate been provided to the tenant?
There is a requirement to provide the tenant with a copy of the gas safety certificate pursuant to paragraph 6 or 7 of regulation 36 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.
5. Has the leaflet ‘How to rent: The checklist for renting in England’ been provided to the tenant?
Regulation 3 of The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) regulations 2015 gives effect to section 39 of the Deregulation Act 2015 by providing that the landlord must serve a version of the latest document entitled “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
6. Has the s21 Notice been served after 4 months from the commencement of the tenancy?
Section 21(4B) HA 1988 prevents service of a section 21 notice in the first four months of the tenancy, or in the case of a replacement tenancy within four months of the day on which the original tenancy began.
7. Has the property – if subject to HMO or other licensing regime – been licensed?
Under section 98 of the Housing Act 2004 no section 21 notice may be served to determine an AST for as long as the property remains an unlicensed house in multiple occupation.
8. Has the prescribed and time limited repair processes been complied with?
Known as the retaliatory provisions at s.33 and s34 of the Deregulation Act 2015.
9. Has any s21 notice been served in the prescribed form?
See FORM 6A - Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy
For more information please see The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2015.
For specialist advice on all residential possession proceedings please contact us.