There is currently a lot of speculation surrounding the possible withdrawal of Section 21 as a way of evicting a tenant who has not specifically breached any of the terms of the tenancy. For the time being issuing a Section 21 notice remains the most effective way to evict, but these can only be served under one of two circumstances:
a) after a fixed term tenancy ends, where there is a written contract, or
b) during a tenancy with no fixed end date - known as a ‘periodic’ tenancy.
However, failure to follow the correct procedure to the letter of the law has tripped up many a landlord, with serious ramifications. Here are some pointers to getting it right!
1)Your notice must be in writing, but if the tenancy began or was renewed after 21st October 2015, this needs to be done on Form 6A.
2) Notice must be given no earlier than four months after the start of the tenancy.
3) If the rent payment period is quarterly or half-yearly, then you must give one full rental period of notice. If the rent is payable monthly or more frequently, then two months’ notice must be given.
4) If you get any dates or address wrong – even a typo, then this can invalidate the notice.
5) You must start court action within six months of serving notice.
6) Your Notice will be invalid if it is served before you have given your tenant a copy of the current Gas Safety Certificate and Energy Performance Certificate, as well as the latest version of the “How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England” guide at the beginning of the tenancy.
7) If the property is a House in Multiple Occupation, you must have a valid HMO license?
8) Notice will also be invalid if the deposit wasn't protected in government-approved tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of receipt.
9) Likewise notice will also be invalid if you did not give the tenant the required information about the deposit scheme used. If the deposit was not protected, then it must be returned to the tenant before you serve notice.
10) A section 21 notice may be also be invalid if you serve it after your tenant has complained in writing about repairs or the condition of your home, or after the council sends you an improvement or emergency work notice (you can't serve a Section 21 Notice within 6 months of receiving such a notice either).
This is not necessarily and exhaustive list, and clearly this is a complex subject which, as mentioned above, is under imminent government review, which is why many landlords entrust their investment to us, as we are experts in this field. Why not call us to discuss you own BTL needs on 01322 228090.