New regulations require the use of a new s21 prescribed form and the provision of some key documents to tenants, without which the s21 notice cannot be validly served.
This introduces a new prescribed s21 form, with effect from the 1 October, for a notice under section 21 (1) or (4) of the Housing Act 1988 ('the Act') informing a tenant that the landlord intends to seek recovery of possession of a property let on an assured shorthold tenancy ('a section 21 notice'). To date landlords and agents have had to draft their own. As at 14 September, the new form is not yet available but we are informed by DCLG that it will become available on the 1 October. Members will need to act swiftly to integrate the new form into their systems as soon as it is available.
Documents for tenants
Where landlords have not provided required information to the tenant they will not be permitted to use the section 21 eviction procedure. Basically, if a landlord still wishes to use the 'no-fault' s21 Notice to terminate a tenancy, the tenant must have been given copies of the following documents:
- an energy performance certificate
- a gas safety certificate
- a copy of the DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) booklet entitled 'How to rent: the checklist for renting in England'.
The Explanatory Memorandum To The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices And Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 (PDF) implies the 'How to Rent' booklet be given in hard copy but the regulations themselves say that where "the tenant has notified the landlord, or a person acting on behalf of the landlord, of an e-mail address at which the tenant is content to accept service of notices and other documents given under or in connection with the tenancy", then service of these documents by e-mail is acceptable.
Critically, agents or landlords must be able to prove that they have delivered all this paperwork to tenants, or they will not be able to use the no-fault Section 21 procedure. Carefully thought through procedures with clear paper/evidence trails will be essential and we recommend that tenants are asked to sign for all the documents.