Most landlords are aware of the existing routes they need to take in order to gain possession of their property. However, they may not be aware of the changes taking place from 1 October 2015.
Possession begins with the landlord serving notice that they require the tenant to vacate the property and a common notice used is the Section 21 notice Housing Act 1988. This notice can be served on a tenant without any reason or fault on the part of the tenant, but must provide the tenant with two months’ notice.
Until 1 October 2015, a Section 21 notice can be served at any time following the start of the tenancy, provided the tenants deposit is protected within a government approved Tenancy Deposit scheme and the tenant has been provided with the required Prescribed Information. Many landlords often serve the Section 21 notice with the original tenancy agreement thus avoiding a waiting period between service and possession.
However, changes from 1 October 2015 mean that landlords will not be able to serve a Section 21 notice within the first 4 months of the start of the tenancy agreement.
A further restriction will apply in order to prohibit ‘Retaliatory Evictions’, if a tenant has made a written complaint about the condition of the property prior to the notice being served and the landlord has failed to respond appropriately. Failure to respond or act on the complaint may result in the local council issuing an Improvement Notice or carrying out remedial action themselves; this will prohibit serving a Section 21 notice for 6 months from the date of the Improvement Notice being served. The aim of this change is to prevent landlords, who are faced with complaints, from removing that tenant and replacing them with a more accommodating one.
There are a number of other significant changes also taking place from 1 October 2015, if you are a landlord who has concerns relating to these changes and their effect, do not hesitate to contact us.
At The Legal Team, we have a wealth of experience in advising landlords on issues relating to notice and possession procedures. We are happy to assist you to ensure correct notice is served, enabling you to gain possession of your property. Call us on 0800 999 8662 from landlines or 0330 999 0032 from mobiles.