Section 21 Notice (also referred to as a Notice of Possession).

A Section 21 Notice is the legal procedure to end a assured shorthold tenancy agreement when a landlord is looking to regain possession of the property under no specific ground or reason. However, this can only be after a fixed term tenancy ends (if there is a written contract) or during a tenancy with no fixed end date (a ‘periodic’ tenancy).

The notice period for a Section 21 Notice is 2 months but this may be longer under the terms of a periodic tenancy agreement and the notice cannot end before the fixed term is up.

A periodic tenancy is whereby the tenancy has no specific end date. Assured shorthold tenancy agreements can sometimes include a clause to state that the tenancy continues as a periodic tenancy. If there is a periodic tenancy agreement or clause, then the amount of notice increases to the rental period if this is longer than 2 months. For example, if the tenant pays rent every 3 months, then you must give 3 months’ notice.

Under new regulations that were introduced on the 1st October 2015, you must have provided your tenant with a copy of the following documents:

  • An Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)
  • A valid gas safety certificate
  • A copy of the EPC
  • A copy of the “How To Rent” guide
  • Proof that their deposit was protected by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. This is only relevant if the tenancy started after April 2007 and a deposit was actually taken.

You must have given these documents to the tenant before they moved in and it is best to have evidence of the same too.

There are further exclusions with regards to using a Section 21 Notice and you cannot use it if any of the following apply:

  • It is any less than 4 months since the tenancy has started, or the tenancy has not ended (unless there is a clause in the agreement that allows you to end it).
  • The property is a Home in Multiple Occupation ‘HMO’ and does not have a HMO licence from the local council.
  • The council has served an improvement notice on the property in the last 6 months.
  • The council have served a notice on the property in the last 6 months to say that they will be carrying out emergency works.
  • You have unlawfully prohibited payments or are holding a deposit from the tenant and have not been repaid.

Matters do not usually get to the stage that the courts involvement is needed however, if a tenant does not leave by the notice date then the only way to physically remove the tenant is by making an application to court and later involving bailiffs. This can be quite an expensive and lengthy process but you will be able to discuss this with your solicitor if it gets to that stage.

Bryan & Armstrong Solicitors have an experienced litigation department that are here to advise you if you are looking to evict a tenant. Please contact Adam Mikula adam.mikula@bryanandarmstrong.co.uk or Jodie Holmes jodie.holmes@bryanandarmstrong.co.uk if you have further queries on or call us on 01623 624505.