LETTING & ESTATE AGENT

Section 21 ruling could save landlords thousands

Section 21 ruling could save landlords thousands

According to newsontheblock.com, a Court of Appeal ruling - that just two calendar months’ notice is required to end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy after the end of a fixed term – could save landlords thousands of pounds.

For the past 25 years it was universally believed that, to end a tenancy once a fixed term had expired, landlords had to use s.21(4)(a) of the Housing Act 1988. That section requires a minimum of two months’ notice ending on the last day of a period of the agreement – meaning that, if the rent is payable on the first of each month, a landlord wanting to give notice on the 2nd has to give two full months’ notice plus however many days remain in the month (29 for January), i.e. the earliest the notice could require possession is after 31 March.

The ruling, made in a recent case, means the landlord could serve notice on 2 January requiring possession on 2 March, 29 days earlier than under s.21(4)(a). It is easy to get the date wrong under s.21(4)(a), so countless cases have been struck out for technical failure to comply with the section even though the tenant has received much more than two months’ notice.

Paul Walshe, partner at Moore Blatch and head of Property Reclaim, said: “Almost all Assured Shorthold Tenancies start with a fixed term, so landlords can now rely on the far simpler Section 21(1)(b).”