Legislation update: Changes to s. 21 possession notices

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From the start of next month, landlords and property professionals wishing to use the accelerated possession procedure pursuant to the Housing Act 1988 to obtain vacant possession of residential properties will need to ensure that they use the correct form when serving a section 21 notice upon a tenant in England.

Under regulations brought in under the Deregulation Act 2015, a section 21 notice served in connection with an assured shorthold tenancy which began on or after 1 October 2015 must be in the prescribed form (form 6A). A notice may also not be served within the first four months of the tenancy, meaning that the first date on which the new form must be used for affected tenancies is 1 February 2016.

For tenancies which began before 1 October 2015, or for tenancies which commenced after 1 October 2015 but which are “replacement tenancies” (i.e. where the terms of the tenancy, the demised premises and the parties are the same as in the original tenancy), landlords may choose whether to serve notice using the new prescribed form or simply ensure that the notice they serve is compliant with the requirements of the Act as there is no obligation to use the new form for all tenancies until 1 October 2018.

For a summary of all of the recent changes to the accelerated possession procedure requirements, click here.