It is now a couple of months on, and landlords of residential properties subject to Assured Shorthold Tenancies (“AST”) should now be aware of the following significant changes. From 1 October 2015:

  • Landlords must use a new, prescribed form of notice when ending an AST granted on or after that date;
  • Landlords will not be able to recover possession unless they have previously provided certain information relating to the property and the tenant’s rights and responsibilities;
  • Landlords can no longer serve a section 21 notice on the date the AST begins. They must now wait until the tenant has occupied the property for at least four months before serving a notice; and
  • A section 21 notice will now only last for six months for a fixed term AST and four months for a statutory periodic tenancy. This means that a landlord will have to wait six months before serving notice to terminate a twelve month AST.

There are a number of other requirements imposed as part of the government’s ongoing campaign to regulate ASTs. There is now a requirement that, before issuing a section 21 notice, the landlord must have supplied the tenant with:

  • an Energy Performance Certificate;
  • a copy of a Gas Safety Certificate; and
  • a copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s booklet: How to rent: The checklist for renting in England. (The booklet can be downloaded here)

Although not mandatory, it would be best practice to supply the tenant with these documents at the start of a tenancy to avoid any delay when later serving a section 21 notice.

These changes do not currently affect ASTs pre-dating 1 October 2015 or any statutory periodic tenancies arising after the expiry of such ASTs. However, as of 1 October 2018, the Regulations (except the provision of a DCLG booklet) will apply universally, regardless of when the tenancy was granted, so landlords are advised to get their house in order as soon as possible.