Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 allows landlords to end an assured shorthold tenancy by serving notice, without having to show any fault on the part of the tenant. Stephen Eccles, Head of Dispute Resolution law at Pinney Talfourd in Upminster, is our expert in landlord and tenant disputes. He outlines amendments to section 21 introduced from 1 October 2015 and warns of new traps for unwary landlords.
The amendments to section 21 affect three key areas:
There are also new rules requiring rent paid in advance to be repaid; and measures to stop landlords from evicting tenants who complain about the condition of the property.
Housing matters in Wales are now devolved, so these changes apply only to tenancies in England. The new rules currently affect assured shorthold tenancies granted on or after 1 October 2015, but not ‘continuation’ tenancies that arise automatically if a tenant stays on after the initial fixed term ends. Continuation tenancies will be affected from 1 October 2018. Until then, landlords will need advice on what sort of assured shorthold tenancy they are dealing with before relying on section 21.
You cannot serve a section 21 notice unless you have given the tenant: