On 1 October 2015 the Deregulation Act 2015 introduced a number of changes to the Section 21 regime. For assured shorthold tenancies created on or after 1 October 2015 one of these changes was to require the prescribed Form 6A to be used where a landlord wished to serve notice to the tenant under s21. However, from 1 October 2018 many of the Deregulation Act changes will apply to all tenancies, that is even those that were created prior to 1 October 2015.
In addition to creating the new Form 6A the Deregulation Act also included the following changes:
- Prohibition on retaliatory evictions that is a prohibition on serving a s21 after local authority enforcement action; and
- An obligation to serve an EPC, How to Rent Guide and Gas Safety Certificate.
It is also important to note that the Deregulation Act also introduced time limits to s21 notices. Landlords are prevented from serving a s21 notice within the first 4 months of the original tenancy and they have a 6 month expiry period from the date that it is served. There are exceptions to this where the notice period is longer than 2 months.
Therefore, from 1 October 2018 all tenancies will be bound by the retaliatory eviction provisions and by the provisions dealing with time limits on the use of a notice under s21. They will not however be bound by the requirement to give the tenant the How to Rent guide, the EPC, or the Gas Safety Certificate. This is of course can be quite confusing so where possible it is advised to give the tenant the How to Rent guide, the EPC and Gas Safety Certificate.
With regard to the use of Form 6A the position is a little uncertain where the tenancy commenced prior to October 2015. It probably does not apply to tenancies that have not been renewed after October 2015 and pre-date October 2015. However, Form 6A is clear that it can be used for all tenancies and it is likely that judges will expect to see it so it is probably best to make use of the Form in all cases.
It is important that the correct procedures are followed in setting up the tenancy and that Form 6A is completed in full in the prescribed form and served with the above in mind. If there is any doubt on the process and procedure advice should be sought prior to serving the Form.