Further changes with effect from 1 October 2015

When the Deregulation Act 2015 introduced changes to the Section 21 regime earlier this year, one of the unknown entities was what the prescribed form of Section 21 Notice would look like. Another was what Regulations the Secretary of State might impose on Landlords, restricting the use of Section 21 to remove tenants. We now know the answer to both:

Section 21 Notice – new prescribed form

Form 6A is the new prescribed form of notice. It must be used for any new or replacement tenancy issued after 1 October 2015. It can be found here. You can also use the new form for tenancies pre-dating 1 October but, if you do, you must have complied with the new regulations (see below). If you have not complied with those, you will have to continue to use whatever old form of the notice you used previously.

You will remember that you cannot serve notice (on any assured shorthold tenancy (AST) beginning on 1 October 2015) until the tenancy has run for four months. You should then use this notice and give not less than two calendar months’ notice - no more trying to calculate an end date that coincides with the end of a period of tenancy.

The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015 No. 1646)
That’s a mouthful. We’ll call them ‘the Regulations’. This statutory instrument comes into force on 1 October 2015 and deals with the regulations that must be complied with before a S21 Notice can be used at all.

Key points to note

The Regulations apply (in England) to all new assured shorthold tenancies starting after 1 October 2015 and eventually, after 3 years, to all ASTs.

‘New’ means a new tenancy or a replacement tenancy, but not a fixed term tenancy that rolls over to a statutory period tenancy.

The Regulations specify what the tenant must receive before a S21 Notice can be used. These are:

  • The tenant must be provided with a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate for the property;
  • The tenant must be provided with a copy of the current gas safety certificate (although legislation already requires this to be provided within 28 days of inspection, the Regulations do not require it to have been provided within that 28 day period, as long as it has been provided);
  • Private landlords must also provide a copy of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s ‘How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England”. Happily, Section 3(5) of the Regulations confirms that this does not apply where the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing.

Finally, the Regulations introduce a further tiny amendment to the Section 8 Notice (Notice Seeking Possession) which has already changed once this year, to reflect the changes to the grounds for possession introduced by the Anti-social

Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

The new amendment removes the wording in the notes “There is no form prescribed for these cases, but you must give notice in writing” and substitutes “Form 6A ‘Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy’ is prescribed for these cases”.

There is, as yet, no new version of the prescribed Section 8 Notice but now would be a good time to check that you are already using the version that refers to the ‘Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 because this change has passed some RPs by.

About the author

Mary Rouse Partner

Mary specialises in lender litigation and in housing management advice for registered providers. With some 20 years’ experience in both of these sensitive areas, she is able to offer clear advice and pragmatic solutions.