This week the landlord advice team resolved a query one of our members had in relation to correct service of a section 21 notice to start the process of gaining back possession of their property.
This is a query we often help our members with as there can be a lot for a landlord to check they have done correctly.
Our member needed to regain possession of their property as they were looking at selling it and they wanted a larger market than only selling to other landlords, in order to fetch the best price for their property. As there is no specific ground under section 8 for this, we advised them that they are best off using section 21.
The tenancy was originally for a fixed term 6-month tenancy. This was originally done in January 2014 and the tenancy has been periodic since then. A section 21 cannot expire within the fixed term but as this time has long since passed this should not present an issue. This property was used as the sole tenant’s main home and they paid a standard market rate rent in the area.
The landlord had taken a deposit of 1 months rent and protected that using DepositGuard and provided all relevant paperwork to their tenant within 30 days of receiving this money.
Our member’s query was then in relation to proving the service of the Gas safety certificate, Energy performance certificate and the how to rent booklet as they were aware that these requirements are related to section 21 service.
We advised our member that as their tenancy was signed before 1st October 2015 when these requirements were introduced, and they have not signed a renewal of this tenancy since the first tenancy was signed, these requirements do not apply.
Landlords are not required to prove any of these documents were given to the tenant, in fact the How to rent booklet did not even exist at the time this tenancy was signed.
For the gas safety certificate and energy performance certificate, these were and still are legal requirements to have for your property where they are applicable, but you were not required to have served these to your tenant as part of being able to successfully use section 21.
If they had renewed their tenancy at any point after 1st October 2015, then at such a time they should have issued the documents and obtained proof of doing this, such as by using the RLA start of tenancy checklist.
We then advised our member to serve their section 21 notice to the property and obtain evidence of doing so, giving 2 months and 3 days’ notice to make sure enough notice period is given to the tenant. After this notice expires when they may need to complete court paperwork if the tenant has not left, they can look on our website or call the team directly and we can assist with that process also.
Rupinder Aujla, LAT Team Manager, said “There is a lot of legislation out there which places restrictions and obligations upon landlords regarding what they can or cannot do. The advice team are always there to help our members understand the law so that they can do the right thing for themselves and for their tenants.”
- In April, the Government announced that it will launch a consultation on axing Section 21, so called ‘no-fault’ repossessions. Shortly after, the RLA launched its own survey, collecting the views of landlords on possession reform. A record number of landlords-6500 responded to the survey. You can read some of the inital findings from the report here, and read more about the RLA’s campaigning ever since the announcement here.
- While the RLA awaits the Government’s consultation, why not write to your MP on possession reform here.
- Read our guide on Section 21 notices for landlords here.