Tag Archives: traps for landlords

Landlords Beware: Recent changes affecting Section 21 procedure – The Deregulation Act 2015

Whether or not there are tenant arrears, the landlord may need to take necessary steps to regain possession of the property. Therefore landlords must be constantly on top of the forever changing legislation with regards to buy-to-let market: from tenant ID checks to deposits protection and ending with property repossession.

As the rules and regulations on the buy to let market are constantly changing unaware landlords are finding it more and more difficult to repossess their property, especially because of missing essential items at the beginning and during the tenancy. This article is looking to shed some light over The Deregulation Act 2015 and how it affects landlords and property owners on the residential property market.

The Deregulation Act 2015 has brought in some significant changes which significantly restricts the way in which landlords can serve a section 21 notice. The Act applies to all AST’s (i.e. Assured Shorthold Tenancy) granted on or after 1 October 2015 in England only, although it is important to be aware that from 1 October 2018 the new rules will apply to any AST regardless of when it was created (apart from the requirement mentioned below at number 6 relating to the information guide booklet). The Act restricts the way in which landlords can serve a section 21 notice.

The changes that affect landlords wishing to repossess their property by serving a Section 21 notice are as follows:

1. A prescribed form of section 21 notice must be used, this is known as a Form 6a and can be found, along with guidance notes on the www.gov.uk website. Form 6a cannot be served within the first four months of a tenancy and is only valid for 6 months following the date of issue.

2. A Landlord is no longer required to state the last day of a period of the tenancy as the date on which the tenancy comes to an end in a section 21(4) notice.

3. A section 21 notice may not be given to a tenant where a landlord is not compliant with any law relating to:

a.  The condition of the property or common parts;

b. The health and safety of tenants in the property, this may include for example obligations relating to gas safety certificates; or

c. energy performance, such as compliance with an obligations relating to energy performance certificates.

4. If the tenant raises a legitimate complaint regarding the condition of the property with the landlord which remains unresolved, a tenant can contact the local housing authority who may serve a notice on the landlord, requesting that the matter be remedied. If the local housing authority serve a notice on the landlord, any section 21 notice served by the landlord following the complaint from the tenant, will be invalidated and the landlord will be unable to evict the tenant for 6 months using the section 21 procedure. This penalty may be avoided where the landlord responds to the tenant’s complaint and remedies the issue by carrying out relevant repairs.

5. Where a section 21 notice has been served the tenant may be entitled to a rent rebate for rent paid in advance where the tenant has vacated the property.

6. A landlord must give to the tenant a document entitled, ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting in England’, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Best practice would be to issue to guide upon creating the tenancy, otherwise as soon as practicably possible. The document may be given as a hard copy, or if the tenant has notified the landlord that he or she is willing to accept service of documents relating to the tenancy via email, then the document may be sent via e-mail.

Property repossession legislation is becoming increasingly complex each year; TDR aims to assist landlords both effectively and efficiently, by looking at each case individually and assessing how we can best help landlords and property owners. Dependent upon their particular situation TDR aims to provide an outstanding and tailored level of service.

If you have any questions relating to the changes brought into effect by the Deregulation Act 2015, or anything else you require assistance with, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via email info@tdra.co.uk and a member of our team will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

Evicting a tenant using the Section 21 procedure: Traps for the unwary landlord

Rent arrears recovery is not the only issue buy-to-let property owners encounter during their normal activity. Most often than not, rent arrears come associated with property issues where tenants disrespect the property they are in and therefore, in order to save time and money in the long run, landlords have to repossess the property.
Obtaining repossession of the property can happen by terminating an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) or a periodic tenancy.
This article will highlight the practical conditions a landlord should meet when using the section 21 procedure.

When faced with the prospect of terminating an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST), either in anticipation of the expiry of the fixed term, or after the fixed term has expired, most landlords will choose to use the section 21 procedure simply because no element of tenant default is required.
If used correctly the section 21 procedure will help avoid unnecessary issues or delays when regaining possession of a property.
Obtaining Possession

The accelerated possession procedure is generally a cost effective and efficient way of regaining possession of a property and can be used by a landlord where:
The only purpose of the claim is to recover possession (the accelerated possession procedure is not suitable for use when a landlord is claiming rent arrears from a tenant);
The landlord and tenant have entered into a written tenancy agreement;
The requisite 2 months’ notice has been given correctly; and
All the required practical steps, including those discussed in this article have been complied with, such as protecting the tenant’s deposit if one has been provided.
The advantage of using the accelerated possession procedure is that a court hearing is not usually required and the court can order possession to be given within 14 days, unless this would cause exceptional hardship, which can increase the 14 day period up to 42 days.
A court will make an order for possession of a property either on or after the end of a fixed term AST, where a landlord has given a tenant at least two months’ notice in writing and the AST has ended, this means no tenancy other than a periodic tenancy must exist.

The following steps must also have been taken by the landlord:
If a deposit is paid by the tenant to the landlord then that deposit must be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. There are a number of Tenancy Deposit Schemes available, meaning that a landlord can choose the one that is most suitable for his or her interests The landlord is not entitled to serve a section 21 notice where the landlord has not protected the deposit correctly; and
The landlord may not serve a notice on a tenant living in a multiple occupation property which must be licenced by the local housing authority, unless the property has been licenced correctly.

While property repossession can be carried out by individual landlords and agents, the slightest error or missed step in the process can add significant delay, leading to landlord losing time and money on his property investment.

At TDR we aim to:
1. Provide up to date information to help landlords when things are not going as they should in their property to let; and
2. Effectively help landlords recover tenant rent arrears and repossess the property if needed, in a very transparent and clear way. Please visit the other sections of the website for more details on how we can help or contact us via our email at info@tdra.co.uk.