On September 11 the Government published the regulations and guidance for new Section 21 procedures, just three weeks before the legislation goes live on the 1st October. The regulations require a long and protracted paper-trail to be completed by landlords and tenants, and we sympathise with the parties who have not been given sufficient time to prepare themselves for the changes. Here we briefly outline the new best practice guidance.
- A section 21 notice cannot be served in the first four months of a tenancy
- If, after serving the notice, proceedings do not go ahead within six months, the notice becomes invalid
- A new form of Section 21 notice will be required in all Section 21 proceedings
- If a landlord or agent fails to provide the required information to tenants during their tenancy, your Section 21 notice may become invalid
- If tenants have requested repairs and you fail to make them in a given time limit, you can invalidate your Section 21 notice
- Furthermore, this can prevent you from serving another Section 21 for six months – even if it is valid.
- Prepare. Expect written repair requests to be the norm. By setting up a structure before the move you can identify what is wrong with the property and fix it quickly.
- If a lot of your tenants are foreign students or do not speak English as a native language, find a way around written reports coming in from tenants who struggle with English or don’t write it at all.
- Completing repairs in time will become hugely important to landlords – efficient repairs will allow you to retain your right to serve a Section 21 notice. Ensure a process is in place that means a repair deadline will never be missed. Keep a professional, meaningful paper trail if necessary – you will be able to defend your actions and positive intentions in any proceedings.