|Section 21 Notice|
|Section 21 Form (Form 6A)|
|The correct file and format must always be used.
Please always check that you are using the latest version of the Section 21 Notice (Form 6A) by downloading a fresh copy each time you want to use the Notice, do not rely on any copy you may have saved to a file.
|Section 21 is a notice to the tenant that you require possession of the property by the date specified in the notice, if the tenant does not vacate by that date you can apply to the Courts for an Order for Possession.|
|Assuming no bars to use of the Section 21 Notice are in place the Order for Possession is Mandatory but the court can use discretion regarding the time the tenant has to vacate.|
|You cannot use this Notice IF:|
|• The tenancy is NOT an assured shorthold tenancy;
• You are still in the first four months of the tenancy;
• You have not been served with an improvement notice regarding the property in question by the local authority in the six months prior to the Section 21 Notice being served. A hazard awareness notice will not prevent use of the Section 21 Notice;
• The property in question has not been the subject of emergency remedial action by the local authority in the six months prior to the Section 21 notice being served;
• you must not have performed a 'retaliatory eviction';
• You have not provided the tenant with an energy performance certificate;
• You have not provided the tenant with a gas safety certificate prior to the tenancy and on each renewal of the landlord gas safety certificate (do not rely on the technician providing this to the tenant – give a copy and get a receipt). It may be possible to provide the certificate after commencement of the tenancy but this is currently with the courts pending possible appeal by a tenant;
• You have not provided the tenant with a copy of the How to Rent guide. This can be provided late if not provided prior to the tenancy commencement and/or at the start of the tenancy. The correct version of the guide as at the tenancy commencement date should be given to the tenant if relying on late service. Landlords can, and frequently do, give updated versions to tenants during the course of the tenancy to ensure the tenant is kept abreast of changes which may affect them. A copy of historic How To Rent Guides is not kept on the government website however a copy can be obtained from the CRLA office upon request;
• You have not provided the tenant with a copy of the EPC for the property. This can be provided late if not provided prior to the tenancy commencement and/or at the start of the tenancy.
• You have not protected the deposit and given prescribed information to the tenant;
• You have not applied for a licence where required (Mandatory licence relates to any property lived in by five or more unrelated people, Discretionary or Selective licensing schemes have their own specific conditions) and provided the tenant with a copy of the licence;
• You have charged the tenant fees prohibited under the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and not refunded to the tenant;
• You have not repaid any holding deposit charged or used those funds in accordance with the signed agreement by the tenant.
|Make sure you get a signed receipt for every document as above and any others you may consider appropriate to give to your tenants in case you need to prove service should a tenant try to disqualify your Section 21 through non-service of a document or documents.|
|There is specific legislation in place permitting the EPC and How To Rent Guide to be emailed to the tenant, however, ideally copies should be printed out and handed to tenants with a receipt obtained to minimise the risk of a tenant denying having seen and read the appropriate documentation. Receipt of an automated read receipt does not give you that confidence although an email from the tenant confirming that they have read and understood any documentation attached to your email should suffice, assuming all attachments are listed in the tenant’s email.|
|There is no specific legislation in place regarding email of
• The deposit certificate and prescribed information. Any prescribed information served prior to the date on the deposit certificate is not valid;
• The Gas Safety Certificate ;
• The Electrical Inspection Condition Report (not currently a document required before service of the Section 21 but expect to see this being introduced).
|Where landlords are willing to accept an increasing level of risk they may be prepared to email copies of any document assuming the tenant’s permission to serve by that method is in place and that the landlord is confident they are using the most up-to-date email address for the tenant. Remember, many people change email addresses frequently to ensure email security. Failure on the tenant's part to provide updated email contact information may not be acceptable to a court court if used by the landlord as a defence for a required document not being served..|
|Technically the Section 21 notice does not require you to explain why you are seeking possession but Pre-Action Protocols are increasingly being required by the courts meaning the landlord should liaise, so far as possible, liaise with the tenant and provide written evidence of all efforts, e.g. rent arrears etc.|
|• For notices served prior to 29 August the Section 21 Notice expires after 6 months and the landlord can commence court proceedings once 3 months have expired following the date of service of the Notice.
• For notices served on or after 29 August Section 21 expires after 10 months BUT landlord cannot commence court proceedings until 6 months have elapsed from date of service of notice.
• For contractual periodic tenancies, where the rental periods last longer than six months then the notice period should match the rental period or six months, whichever is the longer.
|Date for End of Notice|
|There is no longer any set date for the Notice period to end. Where the date is part way through a rental period the landlord will need to calculate any rent repayment (assuming the tenant remains up-to-date with rental payments).
(Prior to the Deregulation Act 2015 landlords serving notice during a contractual periodic tenancy had to serve a notice that ended on the last day of a rental period. This is no longer the case.)
|Ideally any Notice should be served on the tenant by hand, with a copy signed by the tenant for retention by the landlord. Where it is expected that the tenant will not co-operate the landlord should be accompanied by an independent witness who will confirm that the correct documentation was placed in the envelope and how the envelope was delivered (by handing to an individual (preferably named), by posting through a letterbox, by pushing under the door, etc.)|
|If personal delivery of a notice is not an option the notice can be sent by post, use tracked mail to ensure delivery; any mail option which requires a signature may be refused by the recipient meaning service has not taken place.|
|• Where service in person takes place AFTER 4:30 pm the date of service is deemed to be the next day;
• Where service by post is used first class post assumes service the next business day (this excludes weekends and bank holidays).
|On expiry of the Notice|
|The tenancy has not automatically ended.|
|• Check to see if the tenants are still in residence. If still in residence the conditions of the tenancy remain unchanged, for example rent is still payable and if unpaid accrues as a debt to the tenant;
• The landlord has the right to apply to the court for an Order for Possession.
• Prepare and Serve Reactivation Notice;
• Prepare and serve the Notice of Impact of Covid-19. This will be required as an attachment to either Form N5 or Form N5B. (This form does not exist until 21 September 2020 but will be added then)
o Do not rely on the Court forms to remind regarding the need for Covid Impact Form or for Reactivation Notice (neither of which exist until 21 September 2020 but will be added then);
• Usually the Accelerated Possession route would be the preferred route, This means the Order for Possession will be granted on the paperwork provided to the Court.
• To apply through the Court use the Form N5 and N119 forms
|Reactivation Notice (Claimant)|
|Court Form N5|
|Court Form N5B – Accelerated Possession|