Section 21 October 2018 Changes – Ensure you are compliant

Listen up landlords; this is your final claxon warning. There are changes regarding Section 21 and you need to act now to ensure you are compliant.

Sorry, I sound a little bossy there, but this is a very important matter which you need to check you are complying with from 1st October onwards, especially if you find yourself in a situation, in the future, where you need to give your tenants notice to vacate your rental property. If you have moved new tenants into your rental since October 2015, you should be compliant, however, it’s always good to double check, don’t you think? Here’s a recap for you on what Section 21 actually is:

If your tenants are through their fixed term period (the initial period of their tenancy agreement which will be stipulated on the contract) and the tenancy agreement is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement, you can use Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 to give notice to your tenants to vacate the property.  You will need to serve a ‘Section 21 Notice to Quit’ which must:

Historically, landlords have only been able to serve a Section 21 if they have met the following criteria:

  • Protected the tenant’s deposit in a Government deposit scheme and give the tenant(s) a copy of the ‘Prescribed Information’ Form.
  • Given a least 2 months’ written notice that you want the property back together with the date the tenants must leave by.
  • The date the tenant must leave by is at least 6 months after the original tenancy began.
  • Do not ask the tenant to leave before the end of their fixed term.

In October 2015, extra criteria were added to Section 21 stipulating that in addition to the above:

  • A copy of the leaflet ‘How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England’ must be given to the tenant(s) on or before the day the tenancy commences. THIS INFORMATION BOOKLET IS REGULARLY UPDATED, AND YOU MUST GIVE THE CURRENT COPY TO YOUR TENANT(S).
  • An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be given to the tenant(s) on or before the day the tenancy commences.
  • A current Gas Safety Certificate must be given to the tenant(s) on or before the day the tenancy commences.
  • The tenants have not made a formal complaint to the local authority regarding living conditions which has resulted in the council serving notice to you.
  • Where the property is licensed, provide a copy of the licence to all tenant’s occupying the property.

Now, from October 2018, all existing AST’s will be subject to ALL of the above criteria prior and post October 2015. This means that if you have a tenancy dated on or before 1st October 2015, you need to take action on the latter criteria above. To summarise:

  • Print off a copy of the ‘How to Rent’ checklist here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/723773/How_to_Rent_Jul18.pdf and send it to your tenants or copy and paste the link and email it to them.
  • Check your property has an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). Under MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) you should have had an EPC carried out. If not, don’t panic; get it done now and send a copy to your tenant(s). In the event that this throws up more issues for you, as your rental property doesn’t come up to energy efficient standards, you can read more here: https://www.surepropertygroup.com/landlord-focus-countdown-mees/.
  • If you have gas at your property, you should already be having an annual gas safety test carried out and give a copy of the ‘passed’ certificate to your tenant. Double check this is up-to-date and that your tenant is in possession of a copy.

These checks, which could take less than half-an-hour, will save a lot of time in the long run when it comes to regaining possession of your property, should the need arise. If you are a concerned over whether you are Section 21p compliant, or would like assistance in letting out your property, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our expert knowledge and practical advice is on hand to find the right tenants for you and manage your landlord affairs. Call us today on 01452 310999, email us at gloucester@surepropertygroup.com or call into our offices in Worcester Street, Gloucester.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes,

Jemma Wilkinson

Director

Sure Sales & Lettings