Most landlords thankfully never have to use a section 21 notice but almost all of them rely on the certainty they can use it.
According to our recent survey on possession reform, the largest ever performed non-governmental survey of the PRS, 98% of landlords think being able to use section 21 is vital to their business.
As a result, when landlords need it but can’t use it, this can be devastating for landlords.
This week we had a call from a member in this situation.
The member had arranged for the property to be managed by an agent initially. Unfortunately this agent had neglected to serve the gas safety certificate before the tenancy began.
In a county court case last year it was decided that the landlord could never use section 21 as you must serve the gas safety certificate before the tenants moved in.
The RLA is currently supporting a landlord in their appeal. You can get involved at our Crowdjustice page.
We advised the member that he shouldn’t try and rely on a section 21 here as a result. Instead we asked them what reasons they had for seeking possession.
The member informed us the tenant had accrued 4 months of rent arrears which was forcing them to take action.
We advised the member the best advice would be to serve a section 8 notice, citing the mandatory rent arrears ground. The tenant was more than 2 months in arrears so this was the only chance the landlord had of getting possession without section 21 to fall back on.
John Stewart, Policy Manager, said ‘we think that landlords should be able to fix this as long as they serve the paperwork after the tenancy starts. It is not just or fair that a landlord cannot rectify this at all. Worse, the government currently proposes to move this requirement to the section 8 notice as well, meaning landlords may never be able to get their properties back. It’s just one of the many reasons landlords need to have their say on the possession reform consultation before October 12th.