Changes to procedures to end a residential tenancy
Practical tips for residential landlords following the introduction of extra protection for tenants.
On 1 October 2015, changes came into force that place further restrictions on when and how a landlord can serve a notice ending an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
The new provisions include:
What do the changes apply to?
The changes will only apply to ASTs granted on or after 1 October 2015. The changes will not apply to a fixed term AST granted prior to 1 October 2015 even if, after that date, the fixed term AST becomes a statutory periodic tenancy.
However, from 1 October 2018, the new rules will apply to any AST irrespective of when it was created (except for the requirement for the landlord to provide prescribed information about the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant under the AST).
Practical tips for landlords
- The changes may catch out an unprepared landlord and delay getting possession of a property. It would be best practice to provide the prescribed information, Energy Performance Certificate and gas certificate at the start of an AST, to make sure that these requirements have been satisfied.
- Landlords should also be aware (and make their managing agents aware) that the previously common practice of serving a section 21 notice on the first day of a tenancy must be stopped. Any notice served within the first four months of the tenancy will be invalid. A landlord will also have to be aware of the earliest date that a section 21 notice can be served, if the landlord wants to end the tenancy as soon as the contractual period ends.
- Landlords will also have to be more proactive in issuing possession proceedings if a tenant does not vacate the premises by the date set out in the section 21 notice. If the landlord has not issued proceedings within six months of the date the notice is given or, if a section 21(4) notice was served requiring more than two months to be given, within four months of that date, the landlord will have lost the right to do so based on that notice and a fresh notice will have to be served.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of this article further, please contact Rachel Meredith or any member of the Wrigleys' Property team on 0113 244 6100.
The information in this article is necessarily of a general nature. Specific advice should be sought for specific situations. If you have any queries or need any legal advice please feel free to contact Wrigleys Solicitors