Evictions Get Even More Complicated

The Deregulation Act 2015 came into force today. Ironically enough for a statute that claims its purpose to be "reduction of burdens resulting from legislation", it has introduced a whole host of new laws and requirements for the unsuspecting landlord.

Importantly, the rules relating to s21 Notices for tenancies commencing before 1st October 2015 currently remain the same:

  • Landlords can still serve a section 21 notice at any time during the tenancy; and
  • There is no change to the form of the section 21 notices; and
  • There is no time-limit after which a served section 21 notice expires (unless you give your tenants a new fixed term tenancy or substantially alter the terms and conditions of the tenancy.

However, these rules for 'older tenancies' will change in October 2018 to match the rules for tenancies starting on or after 1st October 2015:

For ASTs starting on or after 1st October 2015

The landlord now needs to provide the following documents to tenants at the start of each fixed term tenancy (and  if he doesn't then a valid s21 Notice cannot be served until the situation is rectified):

  • Gas appliance safety certificate
  • An energy performance certificate (EPC)
  • The government’s document called ‘How to rent: The checklist for renting in England’

In relation to serving section 21 notices:

  • Landlords can only serve a section 21 notice after 4 months of start of the tenancy
  • The form of the section 21 notice has to be in the new ‘prescribed form’
  • There is a 6 month limit after which a section 21 notice expires, running from the date of service
  • Any health and safety improvement notice served by the local authority on the landlord means no section 21 notice can be served for 6 months

There are also further new laws relating to the handling of complaints from tenants and received by landlords, and in certain circumstances those can also halt eviction proceeedings.

It seems that letting out a property has just gotten more complicated again.

 

Oliver Kew

Published on 01/10/2015

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