There was an unexpected and, possibly unlawful, amendment to Form 6A on 8 August 2019.
As readers of this blog should be aware, Form 6A is the prescribed form that must be used when landlords or their agents wish to serve a section 21 notice on a tenant with an assured shorthold tenancy.
Form 6A was last amended on 1 June in order to make amendments to the notes to make tenants aware of their rights under the Tenant Fees Act. This was done by a statutory instrument as it should be.
However, the government has made some changes to the web page on which form 6A is found. The updates section at the bottom of the page states that the Notes to Form 6A have been amended and this is correct. They have been amended to mention some of the problems relating to Gas Safety Certificates and to be clearer about the ability to serve a s21 notice when a landlord is applying for a property licence.
The change to the guidance notes document is not a concern but there has also been a change to the actual Form 6A itself, even though this is not mentioned in the updates section. This change is relatively small and is an alteration to the notes to talk about HMO and selective licensing. This change has not been made by a Statutory Instrument and until a proper Statutory Instrument is made this poses a problem. As the form has not been approved by Parliament there is a risk that a landlord using this form will have it rejected by a court on the basis of it being invalid (but see paragraph below).
MHCLG has now acknowledged the problem and has yesturday (12 August) corrected the Form 6A on the website back to the one prescribed in the legislation. The update section on the webpage acknowledges that the wrong form has been up since 30 July and that anyone who downloaded that form should not use it. If you have used the incorrect form then the best advice is to use the new form and treat notice served using the previous form as ineffective.