With over two million landlords in the UK renting properties to tenants, it is more important than ever for landlords and tenants to understand their rights when it comes to terminating a tenancy.
One way in which a landlord can seek possession of his property is by virtue of section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (“section 21”). A notice pursuant to section 21 can be served on a tenant at any stage of the tenancy but not within the first four months of a tenancy. In addition, a section 21 notice cannot be served by a landlord in retaliation to any complaints raised by the tenant about the property.
A section 21 notice runs for a period of two clear months and upon expiry of the notice, the tenant must leave the property. A failure to vacate may lead to the landlord initiating a possession claim in the courts to obtain an order for possession, and the tenant may find themselves liable for the landlord’s costs for bringing said claim.
The notice itself must be in a specific, prescribed format and it is important for landlords to note that a section 21 notice can only be used where the following documents have been served on the landlord at the commencement of the tenancy:
- “How to rent” checklist
- EPC certificate
- Gas safety certificate
- Prescribed information about the protection of any deposit
In addition, if the landlord has taken a deposit from the tenant, this must have been protected in a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receiving the deposit. If the deposit has not been protected, a section 21 notice cannot be served. Further, the tenant may also claim against the landlord for a value of up to 3 times the value of the deposit, due to the landlord’s failure to correctly protect it.
If you are a landlord who requires assistance with obtaining possession of a property, or if you are a tenant who has been served with a section 21 notice, it is important that you understand your legal rights and the options available to you. Telephone our offices on 01689 870 769 to book in for an initial consultation with one of our experienced property solicitors today.
By Amarjit Atwal