Termination of Assured Shorthold Tenancies in England
The Section 21
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows landlords to remove tenants on a “no fault” basis, provided they serve notice correctly (in the prescribed Form 6A) and there are no factors that serve to invalidate the notice.
Validity of Section 21 Notices
Landlords are unable to serve a valid Section 21 Notice if:
· The tenant has made a valid complaint about the condition of the property and, instead of addressing the complaint, the Landlord serves a Section 21 Notice. This is known as “retaliatory eviction”. This restriction comes into play where the local authority has served an improvement notice or an emergency remedial action notice under the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS).
· The landlord has failed to provide the tenant with any of the following: a valid energy performance certificate, a current gas safety certificate or a copy of the publication “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” published by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
· The landlord has failed to protect the tenant’s deposit in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme.
· The landlord has not complied with HMO (housing in multiple occupation) licensing requirements.
It is not possible to serve a Section 21 Notice in the first 4 months of a tenancy. Landlords and agents need to diarise scrupulously if they want to obtain possession at the earliest possible stage, i.e. after 6 months.
If the tenant does not vacate of his or her own accord, proceedings must be started within 6 months of the date of service of the Section 21 Notice. If this deadline is not met, a new Section 21 Notice must be served.
Prescribed form of Section 21 Notice
A prescribed form of Section 21 Notice (also known as Form 6A) must be used.