There have been many major recent changes in legislation affecting residential landlords. One of the biggest is the Deregulation Act, which came into effect on the 1st October 2015.

Although there are several elements to the act one of the major changes for landlords is the change in giving notice to tenants.

Whereas in the past landlords could write their tenant a note, as long as it contained the necessary information, providing them the necessary two months notice, now landlords have to use a new ‘prescribed’ form provided by the government. Failure to use the correct form where necessary, and comply with the prescribed conditions of the notice, will mean landlords will not be able to enforce possession of their property if their tenants do not leave.

At the moment the new rules apply only to fixed term tenancies that started on, or after, the 1st October 2015 but will eventually apply to all tenancies from October 2018.

Other changes relating to the new Section 21 Notice are:

-       A Section 21 notice cannot be served during the first four months of an original tenancy. This means a notice                                         cannot expire on the actual end date of a six month tenancy.

-       A Section 21 notice is now only valid for a maximum of six months, whereas previously there was no time limit

-       You can only issue a Section 21 notice to end a tenancy if you have

  • Protected the tenant’s deposit with an approved scheme
  • Served the tenant with the relevant prescribed information regarding the deposit protection,
  • Served the tenant with a current copy of the government’s How to Rent Guide.
  • Served the tenant with a current valid Gas Safety Certificate Record for all appliances.
  • Served the tenant a current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property.

The other big factor introduced as part of the Deregulation Act is to prevent landlords from so called ‘retaliatory evictions’, i.e. from evicting a tenant rather than carrying out necessary repairs. A S21 cannot be issued if there is an unresolved formal complaint from the tenant.

If a tenant has requested repairs or reported a problem, you must provide an adequate respond within 14 days. If the matter is then reported to the local authority, who issue a notice requesting repairs or improvements, then a Section 21 cannot be served until six months after these repairs have been completed.

The above may seem daunting but Gallant Richardson have been working hard to make sure that all our landlord’s comply.