Changes to shorthold tenancy rules for landlords

Landlords looking to serve a Section 21 notice to tenants need to be aware of a change to the rules, say Jones & Co Solicitors.

Any landlord who has not complied with the regulations around Assured Shorthold Tenancies may now find themselves unable to evict tenants using a Section 21 notice, explained James Murray, landlord and tenant law expert.

James said: “As of 1 October 2018, all landlords are now expected to comply with the regulations under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This act says that a landlord will only be able to serve a Section 21 Notice if they correctly complied with the regulatory requirements under the Act. This means that a landlord must have provided the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate free of charge, a Gas Certificate and the current version of the ‘How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England’ booklet.

“This now applies to any landlord letting on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy basis in England. Up until 1 October 2018, only those Assured Shorthold Tenancies created between 1 October 2015 and 1 October 2018 were affected, but these requirements have now been applied to all Assured Shorthold Tenancies irrespective of when it was granted.

“Landlords need to be aware that they can no longer serve the non-prescribed form of Section 21 Notice, which does not require compliance with the Act. Only the prescribed form of Section 21 Notice can now be used.

“Ensuring that tenants are given all the correct documents at the start of the tenancy is key. There is the possibility a court will not grant possession to a landlord who provided the documents at a later stage of the tenancy, because it could regard this late compliance as failure to comply.

“This continues to be a potentially difficult issue for landlords to navigate their way through, and I would strongly advise any landlord who may not have complied with the Assured Shorthold Tenancy regulations, to seek professional legal advice.”

To make an appointment with Jones & Co Solicitors please contact your nearest office in Bawtry, Harworth, Ollerton or Retford.