Every tenancy of residential property granted since 28 February 1997 has been an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. The mechanism for bringing an assured shorthold tenancy to an end has been, and remains, the section 21 Notice. After 1 October 2015 the Deregulation Act 2015 has tightened the rules with regard to asking a tenant to depart from her accommodation held under an assured shorthold tenancy.
A summary of a few (and these points are simply examples) of the rule changes :
- The removal of the requirement for the landlord to specify 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.
- A section 21 notice cannot be served until the landlord has complied with certain legal obligations relating, for instance, to gas safety certificates and energy performance certificates. The landlord will only be able to serve a section 21 notice when this requirement has been complied with.
- A section 21 notice to determine a contractual fixed term tenancy may not be given within the first four months of the tenancy. Possession proceedings must be commenced within the period of six months from when the section 21 notice was given unless more than two months’ notice is required by the tenancy to be given, in which case, proceedings must be commenced within the period of four months from that date.
- The introduction of a prescribed form of section 21 notice. This is important to know, the previous rules simply stipulated a section 21 notice should be used, the new rules prescribe the form.