Section 21’s have traditionally been used by landlords to evict tenants that do not meet their side of the tenancy agreement, in many cases helping save a property from negligent or damaging tenants that would other accrue hefty costs in reparations, that the landlord would have to shell out for.
Unfortunately, they have also been abused by rogue landlords over the years, using them in order to quickly and easily kick out tenants that might complain or question their less than legal methods of property management.
Thankfully the government has taken this situation into consideration and, from October 1st, the Deregulation Act will change the way that section 21’s can be issued as well as what they encompass.
Some of the more important changes can be seen below, but we feel it is worth mentioning that whilst some of these changes are looking to protect the tenants from unfair evictions, it is rogue or illegal landlords that will be taking the hit with most of these changes.
Tenants need to have been living at their property for a minimum of 4 months before a section 21 can be issued – this is to prevent landlords from issuing the section 21 before tenants are even in the property to allow them to evict tenants at any time.
Similarly, section 21’s will now only remain valid for 6 months â€“ if the tenants have not vacated by this date, possession proceedings have to commence within this 6 month period. Again, this helps prevent cases where a section 21 was ‘blanket issued’ so that landlords could choose to repossess their property at any time.
Potentially the most important change on this list, Landlords will no longer be able to issue a section 21 if they are in breach of their legal obligations to the tenants. This includes failing to provide an EPC or gas certificates, as well as failing to complete any works or changes to the property as agreed on the tenancy documents prior to the tenant moving in. It is also important to note that, should a section 21 notice fail because the landlord has been found in breach of the contract, a section 21 cannot be reissued for a further 6 months.
A section 21 cannot be issued if the tenants deposit is not returned or kept in an official protection scheme. Again, this is primarily a tool that cracks down on rogue landlords that would look to hold onto the deposit for themselves and skim off the top, returning little if anything at all to the tenants.
As you can see, these changes are mostly geared towards forcing rogue or ‘cowboy’ andlords out of the business by giving them very little in terms of tools to hustle their tenants out of their money as well as their rental homes.
Importantly, professional and fully compliant landlords will find very little has changed for them, especially if they have a managing agency that can organise their EPC, gas and all other required certifications that will ensure their property is up to standard, and not at risk of being taken hostage by unruly tenants.