A notice pursuant to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended) is most commonly known as a Section 21 notice (but may also be referred to as a Form 6A). Section 21 notices are served by a landlord or letting agent where the landlord wants to recover possession of the Property – they have been branded ‘no-fault notices’ because, unlike Section 8 notices, they are not served on the basis of a breach of tenancy.
Determining whether a Section 21 notice that has been served has become a much more arduous process, due to changes made in the Law overtime which aim to protect tenants. Some of these formalities are listed below.
Have I used the correct form?
When serving a Section 21 notice, the prescribed form should be used (known as a Form 6A) and should be completed fully and correctly.
Have I served the Section 21 notice at the right time?
A Section 21 notice cannot be served to a tenant within the first 4 months of a tenancy and cannot be served to expire during the fixed term (unless there is a break clause under the tenancy agreement).
Have I given the correct notice period?
A Section 21 notice must provide at least 2 months’ notice to a tenant to leave the property. When serving a Section 21 notice, the mode of service should be taken into account in order to allow time for the notice to be deemed served on a tenant, if appropriate.
Where a deposit is taken in connection with a tenancy, this must be protected correctly under a tenancy deposit scheme. The Prescribed Information must also be correctly completed and served to all tenants and any relevant persons. Prescribed Information relates to a specific set of information relating to a tenancy. A relevant person refers to anyone that paid a deposit on behalf of a tenant.
Failing to do so may prevent you from serving a valid Section 21 notice and you could be required to return the deposit before serving a Section 21 notice.
Deregulation Act 2015
The Deregulation Act 2015 introduced new rules on the regulation of tenancies under England and Wales. As part of the Act, landlords are required to serve the prescribed documents to all tenants at the start of a tenancy (this includes all renewals, but not when a tenancy turns periodic). Prescribed documents refer to the How to Rent guide, Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate (where there is gas in the Property). These documents must be correctly commissioned and served to a tenant at least one day before service of a Section 21 notice and failing to do so may invalidate the Section 21 notice.
Before a Section 21 notice is served to a tenant, the landlord or letting agent should also consider the Tenant Fees Act 2019, whether a tenant has received a breathing space moratorium, whether an Improvement Notice has been served for the Property and all licensing requirements which exist for the Property.
Please note that there are further formalities that are not outlined above which must be complied with in order to serve a valid Section 21 notice. Until a full review has been conducted, it is not possible to confirm with certainty whether a Section 21 notice is valid. If you have any questions about the above, please get in contact with our Property Litigation team, we would be more than happy to assist.