The De-Regulation Act was passed on 27th March 2015 and came into effect the 1st October 2015. The act mainly relates to the servicing of a Section 21 notice, including “revenge evictions” and deposit protection, in order to further regulate and improve the lettings process.
Section 21 Notice
Historically, a landlord could serve a Section 21 Notice immediately after the tenancy was granted and rely on it at any point in the future; however there are two significant changes to the law as of the 1st October 2015.
A Section 21 Notice cannot be served in the first 4 months of a tenancy
This does not apply to continuation tenancies such as extensions, renewals and statutory periodic tenancies.
A Section 21 Notice will only be valid for 6 months
This means the landlord must issue a claim for possession within 6 months from the date the notice was given. As the minimum notice period is 2 months, it means landlords will now have just 4 months after the notice expires to issue a claim.
Additional measures put in place to protect tenants from “revenge evictions”
This applies to when a landlord serves notice after an official complaint has been made by the tenant and the local authority has issued a hazard notice. It will apply to all tenancies which started after 26 March 2015.
Invalid Section 21 Notice
No Section 21 Notice can be served within 6 months of a relevant hazard notice, this means that a Section 21 Notice will be deemed invalid if:
It is served after the tenant makes a complaint in writing (including email) about the condition of the property
- The landlord has not provided an adequate response within 14 days
- The tenant then makes a complaint regarding the same issue to the local housing authority
- The authority serves a relevant notice
The condition of the property is caused by the tenant in breach of the tenancy agreement
- The property is genuinely on the market for sale (not being sold to someone associated to the landlord)
- The property is subject to a mortgage and the mortgage requires possession to enforce security
Compliance with legal requirements
A landlord is prohibited from serving a Section 21 Notice where he is in breach of legal requirements including:
The condition of the property and common parts.
- The health and safety of occupiers (including gas and electrical checks)
- The energy performance of the property
Additional legislation in respect of deposit protection can also affect the landlord’s ability to serve a Section 21 notice.
Compliance with deposit rules
If a deposit has been taken by landlord has not been held in accordance with an approved schedule, then no Section 21 Notice may be served as it means that the tenancy deposit requirements have not been complied with. This applies even if the deposit was taken before the 6th April 2007 when the deposit protection rules came into force.
There has been huge growth in the rental market. Hopson solicitors will shortly be launching a fixed price service to assist landlords and letting agents with rent arrears and repossession of property. Further details to follow.