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Major last minute changes made to the new Section 21 form – RLA to the rescue

RLA
Written by RLA

Thanks to the efforts of the RLA, the government has made a last minute correction to fix a serious error in their new prescribed Section 21 form to be used for tenancies in England. The amendment means that from October 1st landlords with periodic tenancies will be able to use the new Section 21 form as the Deregulation Act intended. On the previous version landlords who have tenants paying every six months could have been prevented from serving a Section 21 completely. The RLA is very pleased that we managed to alert the government to this in time for it to be fixed…

Thanks to the efforts of the RLA, the government has made a last minute correction to fix a serious error in their new prescribed Section 21 form to be used for tenancies in England.  The amendment means that from October 1st landlords with periodic tenancies will be able to use the new Section 21 form as the Deregulation Act intended.   On the previous version landlords who have tenants paying every six months could have been prevented from serving a Section 21 completely.  The RLA is very pleased that we managed to alert the government to this in time for it to be fixed.

That’s not all the RLA is doing to help their members of course.  The new Section 21 form is available, along with help on how and when to serve it, what kind of notice is needed and how long it will last after service.

We have also added to our Frequently Asked Questions with some new answers.  If you have a question you think needs answering then please contact the Landlord Advice Team and they will be only too happy to help.

The new form is going to require new paperwork.  Landlords that can’t show they have provided all of the new prescribed information will not be able to serve a valid Section 21 notice.  To help with that, we are now providing a tenancy checklist for the landlord and the tenant to sign at the start of the tenancy showing the landlord has complied.

One of the requirements for landlords at the start of new tenancies is to provide a copy of How to rent: the checklist for renting in England.  This is only the case on replacement tenancies (including statutory periodic tenancies) if the booklet has been updated since the last tenancy was started.  To help our members with this we have started an archive of the booklet so they can always get the latest version and check whether they need to provide a new version.

The old Section 21 is not going away yet for older tenancies or people in Wales and all our previous materials are still available for use.  Members may notice that they are now asked a couple of questions when they go to the Section 21 page.  This will direct them to the exact form they need for their tenancy.

Finally, carbon monoxide and smoke alarm regulations are going live as of tomorrow as well.  The RLA has detailed guidance here but in summary landlords need to ensure a smoke alarm is fitted on every floor of their property by tomorrow and a carbon monoxide alarm is legally required in every room with a solid fuel appliance such as an Aga or wood fire.  Gas is not a solid of course but the RLA still recommends a carbon monoxide alarm near every gas appliance as best practice.

About the author

RLA

RLA

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) represents the interests of landlords in the private rented sector (PRS) across England and Wales. With over 23,000 subscribing members, and an additional 16,000 registered guests who engage regularly with the association, we are the leading voice of private landlords. Combined, they manage almost half a million properties.

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  • To be fair, if the form had not been amended it wouldn’t have changed anything as the main error was in the guidance:

    Incorrect or misleading guidance (and there are still issues) may cause confusion to the reader but they have no legal impact on either the notice or the legal proceedings.

  • Steve, you’re sort of right. The mistake was not really in the guidance though – it was a substantive provision of the notice. It provided that the notice would not be “valid” in certain circumstances, and those circumstances were wrong.

    If a landlord had tried to issue proceedings after the deadline in the notice (but before the actual deadline provided by the Act) it would have been a reasonable argument for a tenant to say that the notice was therefore not valid.

    I can easily see how District Judges across the country could have been persuaded by this argument and at the very least it would have led to adjournments, meaning delay and increased legal costs.

    Well done to the RLA for helping to get this corrected.

    • “it would have been a reasonable argument for a tenant to say that the notice was therefore not valid.”

      Not it would not have been. The law states when a notice is valid. An error on the form does not change this.

      In fact, there are still errors on the form… and on other prescribed forms.

  • “Thanks to the efforts of the RLA” – can you qualify that statement please? How do you know it was thanks to the efforts of the RLA? Did the government write back to you and say thanks to RLA they have changed the form?

    Many commentators pointed out the error, Nearly Legal, Landlrod Law, Guild of Residential Landlords to name a few – many of which did so before the RLA might I add. So I’m not sure it’s fair to try and claim all the credit?

    Sure it’s good that RLA are raising these issues – and if the gov did indeed write to you and say thanks to the RLA we have amended the form then well done – but to try and take all the credit when every man and his dog pointed out the error is a bit cringey.

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