A Guide to Section 21 Evictions
There are two notices through which a landlord can serve to kick-start the process of terminating a tenancy.
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The section 8 notice is a fault-based notice where there is a clear breach or fault on behalf of the tenant, due to which the landlord is choosing to end the tenancy.
When serving a section 21 notice on the other hand, the landlord must give no reason for wanting to regain possession of the property. While most tenancies will end by mutual consent, there are instances where this doesn’t occur, and thus the section 21 notice comes in handy.
What is a section 21 notice?
In short, a section 21 notice is — a legal notice from the landlord to the tenant that begins the process of ending an assured shorthold tenancy. In addition, a landlord may issue a section 21 notice at any time during a rolling periodic tenancy as well as a fixed term tenancy if it includes a break clause in it.
The notice itself provides the tenant with a date by which to vacate the property premises, however if the tenant fails to do so, the tenancy will continue, at which point a landlord can apply for a court issued possession order.
To serve a section 21 notice the landlord must fill the ‘6a form’ and proceed in accordance with guidelines on the form itself. This will include :
- giving the tenant an Energy Performance Certificate, rated E or above,
- the government issued ‘How to rent’ guide,
- a valid gas safety certificate,
- proof of the deposit being protected within 30 days of the beginning of the tenancy
- and all necessary local and national licensing as well as administrative paperwork.
One of the frequent reasons for serving a section 21 notice is a tenant reporting a repair notice of the property to the local council. If then, a landlord was to serve a section 21 notice it would be deemed retaliatory and thus the section 21 notice would not hold much authority. Therefore prior to serving a section 21 notice do ascertain that no repair orders have been filed against your property.
When can’t you serve a Section 21 notice?
There are a number of instances however under which a section 21 notice cannot be served.
These include the following:
- If it’s less than four months since the tenancy started or if the fixed term tenancy has not ended yet
- If the property is categorised as an HMO but doesn’t have an HMO license issued by the council
- If the deposit for the tenancy is not held under the deposit protection scheme
- If you do not issue the notice through the form 6a
- If there has been an improvement or emergency works notice served on the council in the last 6 months
- If you have not returned any unlawful fees that the tenant was charged in line with the Tenant Fees Act 2019.
A section 21 notice will give the tenant at least two months’ notice, however due to the covid-19 situation, you must now give your tenant 6 months’ notice.
The act of serving the section 21 notice, besides filling out form 6a mentioned above, includes ascertaining that the tenant has received the notice.
If the possession matter comes to legal proceedings, you will need to be able prove that the tenant did in fact receive the notice so as to stand a chance in defending your stance. Serving the notice can be done through personal delivery, where the notice is handed to the tenant at the property, and will be considered, served, on the day of the delivery. If delivering the notice, you will need to bring someone with you in the capacity of a witness to confirm that the notice was indeed delivered.
Further to this you can serve the notice by leaving it at the address, or via post, in which case the date of service of the notice will be three days after its delivery to the property. Once again and for the same reasons, you will require a witness to your delivery or for instance, photographic evidence.
Ultimately serving a section 21 notice is one of the routes that a landlord has available to him to regain possession of a property without needing to provide reasons serving the notice itself.