Lawyer

Important changes to assured shorthold tenancy terminations

28
Sep

New regulations introducing a new prescribed form for a notice under section 21(1) or (4) of the Housing Act 1988 (Section 21 Notice) and new restrictions on the use of the “no fault” eviction procedure for assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) are due to shortly come into force.

A detailed summary of these regulations cannot be provided in this space but here is a brief overview of some of the changes which will be of interest to Letting Agents and Landlords.  For a full breakdown of the regulations and practical advice on how these changes could affect you and your clients, please contact David Low on 0191 3842441 or by e-mail on djl@swinburnemaddison.co.uk.

The Changes

Sections 33 to 41 of the Deregulation Act 2015 (DA 2015) contain provisions in relation to Section 21 Notices, including:

  • Removing the need for a landlord to specify in a Section 21 Notice the last day of a period of the tenancy as the date on which the tenancy comes to an end.
  • Limiting a landlord's ability to serve a Section 21 Notice at the start of an AST, to ensure that tenants are actually given two months' notice before the tenancy comes to an end.
  • Introducing an obligation on landlords to provide information about the respective rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant under an AST.

The Timescales

The regulations come into effect from 1 October 2015 and apply to ASTs granted on or after that date.

New Prescribed Form

Details of the new prescribed form for a Section 21 Notice are set out in Regulation 4 of the Statutory Instrument (SI 2015/1646). Form 6A sets out a number of situations where a Section 21 Notice cannot be used, including where the tenant has resided in the property for less than four months and where the landlord has not complied with the requirements under the Regulations.

Landlords and Agents should note carefully the contents of the prescribed form, including the notes section, to ensure their AST agreements do not conflict. For example service of the notice is stated to be two days after posting which should be mirrored in the AST agreement.

Additional Requirements

The regulations also prescribe certain additional requirements for the purposes of section 21A of the Act:

Regulation 2 prescribes requirements to:

  • provide tenants with an energy performance certificate under regulation 6(5) of the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012; and
  • provide tenants with a gas safety certificate under regulation 36 of the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998.

Regulation 3 requires a landlord to provide tenants with a copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s booklet entitled “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” which can be found at the following web address: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent.

The “no fault” eviction procedure for ASTs is not available to landlords at a time when the requirements in Regulations 2 and 3 have not been complied with.

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