Tackling anti-social tenant behaviour in your contracts.
Learning from south Liverpool’s ongoing crisis
Also known as a “no-fault eviction”, a Section 21 Notice is one of the most controversial aspects of the Housing Act 1988. It lets a landlord start the legal process to repossess the property at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) or during a periodic tenancy without needing to give a reason for why they want the house back.
What’s happening with them in 2021?
Section 21 was enacted at a time when privately renting residential property had become rather unprofitable in England and Wales. It incentivised landlords to rent out their properties by reassuring them that they could gain repossession of the property if need be. They have been so popular that in 2020, even during the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 12 private tenants in England received them.
The reality that good tenants who pay their rent on time and do not damage the property can be evicted for no reason has naturally attracted a lot of criticism. So much so that in 2019 the government announced their intention to scrap Section 21 Notices altogether in a Renters’ Reform Bill. In the Queen’s Speech on 11 May 2021, this was promised once again. A date has not yet been set for when this Bill will come into legislation, but the Renters' Reform Coalition has recently been launched to campaign for such reform to take place quickly.
So can landlords still serve them?
Under this amendment to the coronavirus legislation, landlords in England who serve Section 21 Notices between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021 must give their tenants at least 6 months notice. After 1 June 2021, the Housing Minister has announced that the notice period will be at least 4 months long. Then from 1 October 2021, the Section 21 notice period will return to pre-pandemic length of at least 2 months notice.
Since a Section 21 Notice is not actually an eviction, but rather the first stage in the eviction process (a judge still needs to make a possession order), a landlord must wait until after the notice period has elapsed to actually start court proceedings. A landlord then has 4 months to start the proceedings or else they will have to serve a new notice. This time limit is usually 6 months from the date the Section 21 notice was served but due to COVID-19 extensions, it is now 10 months (until 1 June 2021).
For landlords looking to serve Section 21 Notices now, an updated Form 6A must be used because it reflects the extensions mentioned above. The form can be found here. It is imperative that a landlord use this prescribed form and follow all the other relevant rules, otherwise under the Deregulation Act 2015, the Section 21 Notice becomes invalid.
How can Legislate help you?
Legislate is a contracting platform where landlords can create contracts relevant to the property they rent, ranging from tenancy agreements to letter agreements for serving notices. It ensures documents used by landlords are fair, up-to-date with the law and reviewed by a lawyer. You can read how to create your first Legislate agreements in our tutorial and watch a short demo. If you would like to try Legislate, please book an introductory call.
The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.
Learning from south Liverpool’s ongoing crisis
The services provided by a full management letting agency
On the 2nd anniversary of RoPA’s groundbreaking report
In law, is a landlord responsible for the actions of their agent?
The basic rights that both tenants and landlords are entitled to.
4 key stages in implementing a change of employment terms
Factors to consider before proposing a change to employment terms
How to read your tenancy agreement with student tenants
How can a landlord or letting agent end a tenancy without a section 8 or 21 notice?
For what reasons can you start the process of ending an assured shorthold tenancy?
Changing the terms of a tenancy agreement pre and post signature.
Everything to know about controlling Legionella risk in a rental property
If it looks, walks and talks like a tenant, can it be a lodger?
Are these 3 clauses in your free licence to occupy template?
What the case law says on the essential elements of a lease
Does a contract actually need to be in writing?
Your obligations before, during and whilst housing a lodger.
What the Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020 mean for Landlords
A history of the landlord-tenant relationship and how it is shaped today
Don't cover up the cracks.
Make sure to remove these ‘unforgotten’ clauses from your contracts.
3 things missing in your agency’s template agreement with landlords
Bridges to cross when renting property.
Bridges every landlord needs to cross before letting their property.
Classifying property and your obligations.
Single occupancy, multiple obligations.
Landlords: Your extra responsibilities when letting a HMO.
Why your tenancy agreements might not be as enforceable as you think they are.