Is Section 21 change the start of tenants being offered increased protections?
The start of improved reforms that will give tenants more rights will come into force over the next few months.
Keen to highlight a desire to improve the rights of private tenants, the Government have written a Tenants Fees Bill that is working its way through parliament. However, from Monday, new and stricter guidelines as to how a landlord can issue a section 21 notice comes into force.
The new laws will impact Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) in the first instance. From October 1st 2018, landlords will need to complete Form 6A to make a section 21 notice legally binding.
Currently, following the first four months of the tenancy date, a landlord is able to issue a ‘no fault possession notice’ as long as two months’ notice have been offered to the tenant.
Under new regulations, when a landlord issues the section 21 Form 6a, they should ensure: they have shared ‘How to Rent: The Checklist for Renting in England’; the Energy Performance Certificate is up to date and properly published; provide a copy of the licence if the property is licenced and check the Gas Safety Certificate.
David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark, said: “When the changes come into effect, it’s important agents are executing effective Section 21 notices when necessary.
“There is a legal question over whether the additional documents need to be served on pre-October 2015 tenancies, but it’s very unlikely that a judge would throw out a case on the basis that an agent has provided the tenant with too much information.
“A test case before the courts is probably required to determine exactly what needs to be served for these tenancies.
“Therefore, we think that the safest course of action for letting agents is to serve all the documentation when issuing a Section 21 notice.
“The Deregulation Act 2015 makes the will of Parliament clear – these documents should be served – so it’s easier to comply with the spirit of the law rather than rely on a potential legal technicality.
“These changes highlight so clearly that the current system is a mess which must be simplified and improved.
“We call on the Government to bring forward its promised call for evidence on a new housing court and work with us to build a system fit for today’s private rented sector.”
As the first of a range of additional responsibilities to landlords enters the rental market, it will be interesting to see if this legislation encourages them to leave the buy to let sector.
Will additional tenant protections encourage more landlords to leave? With the but to let property market shrinking, how will this impact on conveyancers?