Michael Sayers owned one of the largest property portfolios spanning across over 600 properties nationwide. He recently sold it to a Hong Kong based company whose UK team specialises in rental property management. Unfortunately, privacy laws prevent us for telling you about the intricate details but let’s just say, Michael knows a thing or two about the legalities of tenancies.
A section 21 is a notice to seek possession of a property on an assured short hold tenancy agreement. This notice is one of the first steps taken by a landlord to getting a tenant to leave the house. There does not need to be a reason for it and it can be served at any time providing it meets certain criteria as mentioned below. In order for the eviction to take place, the Section 21 notice will be followed by a court case to carry out the eviction process. The tenant will be responsible for all legal fees incurred during this process.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST)
First of all the property must be let on a shorthold tenancy agreement or the notice isn’t valid. The tenancy can simply challenge the eviction in court.
2 Months’ notice
At least 2 months’ notice must be given to the tenant when serving the notice. The longer you give the better it is essentially, it’s always useful to let the courts know you did everything possible to give the tenant reasonable amount of time to leave the house.
The deposit must be protected.
If, as a landlord, you didn’t ask for a deposit this won’t apply. However as a Landlord you are required by law to protect the tenant’s deposit in a government approved scheme on time. Don’t fall foul of this rule. Your tenant can even claim compensation for not having their deposit protected.
The gov website also states that you must provide your tenant with details of their deposit. This includes:
– a receipt for their deposit
– The landlord’s contact details
– How the tenant can get their deposit back when they leave
Ensure the prescribed information above is handed to the customer to void any hiccups.
Mistakes on the Section 21 Notice
Any mistakes on a Section 21 notice will render it invalid. Ensure the name, address and contact details are correct for the Landlord and/or letting agent. Also check the name of the tenant is spelt correctly and the right date has been written/typed for their leaving date for the house.
A licence for the property
Certain properties may need to have a licence as expected by the local council. These properties may include bedsits, hostels or shared accommodation. Recently, local regions have imposed licences on properties in a specific areas. Check to ensure you have this before serving your Section 21 notice.
For properties where the tenancies started after 1 October 2015, you MUST give a Gas Safety Certificate, Energy Performance Certificate and the government’s “How To Rent guide” BEFORE serving the Section 21 notice.
You must also serve the notice using Form 6a which can be found on the Gov website. You could also include all the information on a letter, but it’s just easier to fill the form out.
The notice cannot be served within the first 4 Months of a tenancy agreement. In order to evict the tenancy using the Section 221 notice. You must take the case to court within 6 months off it being served. I.e. date on the letter.
There are also extra rules in place that can protect tenants from being evicted if they have complained to the landlord or asked for repairs.
A Section 21 notice is all about ensuring you have all the correct documentation in place, it’s all about the paperwork. If you follow all the procedures, you’ll be more much more credible in court if a stubborn tenant refuses to leave the house. Follow the rules to make the whole process as efficient and smooth as possible.