If you are a landlord or letting agent in England, there are now increased hurdles to overcome in order to serve a valid section 21 notice on tenants to end an assured shorthold tenancy under the Housing Act 1988. With defence claims to section 21 notices predicted to increase, getting them right the first time round is essential.

Important Changes 

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 (the “Regulations”) come into force on 1 October 2015. They will introduce the following changes: 

  1. Section 21 notices must now be in a prescribed form. 
  2. A landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice unless it has provided to the tenant: 
    1. An energy performance certificate; 
    2. A copy of a gas safety certificate; and 
    3. The Department for Communities and Local Government’s booklet, “How to rent: checklist for renting in England”. 

What the Changes Mean 

While most well-organised landlords will always have provided the documents mentioned in (a)-(c) above, some may not and this will cause problems with the landlord wishes to serve a notice for possession. Further, letting agents may need to make considerable alterations to their current forms and systems. 

Not getting section 21 notices correct at first instance could result in a costly litigation process. Defence claims to section 21 notices are certainly predicted to rise.