Monday, 7 December 2015

Changes to SECTION 21's in ENGLAND ONLY (As part of the Deregulation Act 2015)

I would advise that if you have properties in ENGLAND, that you read the Deregulation Act 2015 to familiarise yourself.

The below is correct as of writing however as per all UK law's and government led initiatives, it is subject to change with no notice so please ensure you check the relevant pages on before enacting upon the information given.

There are MASSIVE changes to Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 from 1 October 2015 for new Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST's) in England.

Under the new Deregulation Act 2015 which came into force in England from 1 October 2015, there are drastic changes which, if you haven’t already been informed, will affect how we, as landlords utilise Section 21’s and begin court proceedings.

For example, under the new Act, Landlords are now prevented from issuing a section 21 notice early in a tenancy (including the day of signing a tenancy) and there will also be time limits to enacting upon the notices

Currently this is applicable to ENGLAND ONLY, although we believe – and it is only speculation at the moment, but we are led to believe that similar if not the exact same rules will be introduced to Wales in the very near future possibly under the Renting Homes Bill (Wales). - more on this bill in the near future

So when can a section 21 now be served?

Any tenancy (Dwellings ONLY) which begins on or after 1 October 2015, CANNOT be served with a section 21 notice within the first four months of the tenancy. This is also applicable for tenancy replacements or renewals (For ease of reading a renewal is between the same landlord and tenant for "substantially" the same premises),

It is important to note that:
This does not apply where a statutory periodic tenancy has arisen at the end of the fixed term. So technically it is possible to reduce the four month limit by giving a shorter fixed term. e.g. you could issue a one month Fixed Term Tenancy (on or after 1 October 2015) and then once the tenancy has developed/changed to ‘statutory periodic’, a landlord could then serve a section 21 notice.

HOWEVER, as awesome as that sounds to us landlords (and even though the government headlined the changes to landlords using that statement) it seems that when introducing the new legislation the government overlooked the fact that:

“a court cannot order possession until at least six months has elapsed since the original tenancy”,

so it is unclear at the moment for what reason the above has been implemented,!

Referring back to the enacting upon the notices’ new time limits:

Where the section 21 notice was required to be 2 months (e.g. on a standard tenancy 6 month AST), Any notice you issue only stays in place for a maximum of SIX MONTHS from the date on which the notice was GIVEN (the date the notice was served) – Which means if you don’t act upon it and start possession within the 6 month specified time limit you will be forced to reissue another notice and wait for another 2 months before being able to begin court proceedings.

If the notice that you issued was required to be greater than the standard 2 months (e.g. where the rent is paid quarterly), then you must begin proceedings for possession within a maximum of FOUR MONTHS from the date of EXPIRY on the notice (the required possession date on the notice) – Meaning that if you don’t act upon it within the specified time limit you will be forced to reissue another notice and wait the specified timescales before being able to begin court proceedings.


As of writing, NONE of the above applies to an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) granted before 1 October 2015 nor to any statutory periodic tenancy arising on or after 1 October 2015 where the original tenancy was granted before 1 October 2015.

As of 1 October 2018, the above will apply to ALL AST’s in England including any that were granted before 1 October 2015 (Including those that became Statutory Periodic).