How To Serve A Valid Section 21 Notice6 minutes
Service of a Section 21 Notice in accordance with the Housing Act 1988 is the first step that must be taken by or on behalf of a landlord to recover possession of a property let to a tenant on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) on a no fault basis.
Service of a Section 21 Notice in accordance with the Housing Act 1988 is the first step that must be taken by or on behalf of a landlord to recover possession of a property let to a tenant on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) on a no fault basis (i.e. possession is not being sought on grounds of non-payment of rent or other breach of the terms of the AST).
By issuing a Section 21 Notice the landlord is informing the tenant that they require the tenant to vacate the property and deliver up possession by a specified date.
The landlord does not have to provide their reasoning for issuing the Section 21 Notice, hence Section 21 evictions are commonly known as no-fault evictions.
For tenancies which commenced after 1 October 2015 the landlord should use Form 6A when issuing the notice. A copy of form 6A can be found here. Please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance in relation to tenancies which commenced earlier.
In the event that the tenant fails to vacate the property on the specified date the landlord will be at liberty to commence section 21 possession proceedings against the tenant. However the court will not be at liberty to make a Section 21 Possession Order (even if the tenant does not file a defence) if the Section 21 Notice itself is invalid.
1. Time requirements for valid Section 21 Notice
A Section 21 Notice cannot be validly served within the first 4 months of a first AST having been granted to a tenant.
The possession date provided in the Section 21 Notice must fall on the last day of a period of the tenancy and not be earlier than 2 months after the date that the notice was given. A longer notice period may apply accordingly please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the exact circumstances of your situation.
The possession date provided in the Section 21 Notice must also not be earlier than the end of the fixed term of the AST (or the effective date of any valid break clause).
A Claim Form must be filed with the court for the commencement of possession proceedings within 6 months of the date of service of the Section 21 Notice on the tenant.
2. Other requirements for a Section 21 Notice
The landlord will also be precluded from serving a valid Section 21 Notice if any of the following apply:-
- The tenant has paid a deposit in respect of the tenancy which the landlord has failed to protect in a government approved tenancy deposit scheme (or it was protected outside of the period prescribed by law of 30 days).
- The landlord has failed to provide the tenant with prescribed particulars in relation to the protection of their deposit. More information on tenancy deposit protection can be found here.
- The deposit paid exceeds 5 weeks’ rent.
- A banned fee under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 has been charged to the tenant.
- The local authority has served an improvement notice or emergency works notice in respect of the property within the last 6 months.
- The tenant has not been provided with prescribed documents including:-
- The current Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- A how to rent guide checklist for renting in England. Copies of historical and the current guide can be found here.
- Gas safety certificates (as applicable)
- The property is a house in multiple occupancy and the landlord does not hold a HMO licence.
Deficiencies in respect of the above requirements can often be remedied. Do not hesitate to contact us if you require advice on such matters.
3. What happens if the Section 21 notice is validly served?
If the landlord is able to satisfy all of the statutory requirements they can claim possession under an accelerated procedure using an N5B Claim Form, which if undefended can result in a possession order being made without a hearing. More information on the accelerated procedure can be found on the GOV.co.uk website.