Serving a Section 21 notice

Following the government’s announcement to end section 21 notices we have received enquiries about when these notices should be served and particularly whether landlords or agents should serve notice now in order to protect their position.

The government announced that they wish to consult on abolishing section 21 notices in April this year. The consultation will close on 12 October 2019. This means that it is very unlikely that there will be any progress with this matter within the next 6 months. This is especially so given the current political situation we find ourselves in.

So why is 6 months important? Since the introduction of the Deregulation Act 2015, s.21 notices are only valid for 6 months from the date they are served. In other words, for a standard 2-month s.21 notice a landlord will have 4 months from the date of expiry to issue proceedings. Therefore, any s.21 notice is going to need to be used long before any legislation comes into force which will eliminate s.21 notices. So unless the property is left empty a new tenancy will have begun and the situation will be entirely unchanged.

In addition, there is a general principle that new legislation is not retrospective. In other words, it is very unlikely that an existing tenancy is going to be affected by a removal of s.21 notices such that it cannot be used during that tenancy. With that in mind removing a current tenant to start a new tenancy would actually be counter-productive from the landlord’s perspective. Keeping an existing tenant who can still be served an s.21 notice is better than getting a new tenant but losing the power to serve a s.21 notice.

At this current time no one knows when and if there will be any changes to the s.21 procedure. As such, in light of the above any premature decisions or actions would be unwise.