Section 21 & Section 8 Notices: Return of the pre-pandemic position
I originally wrote a blog post in October 2020 titled “Renting in a Pandemic: Section 21 Updates”, which covered the effects of the Coronavirus Act 2020. I wrote several blog posts following this which covered the changes and updates to the regulations. However, now a year later, it would seem that the effects of the Coronavirus Act 2020 are gradually coming to an end, specifically the regulations surrounding Section 8 and Section 21 notices, and possession proceedings.
On 1 October 2021, the Section 21 and Section 8 notice periods returned to their pre-pandemic position. This means that the minimum notice period which must be given under Section 21 is two months or two weeks under a Section 8 notice.
To recap a Section 21 notice is a “no fault” notice which allows a landlord to evict a tenant from their property at the end of their Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. At present there is a prescribed form for serving a Section 21 notice, which has also been updated recently, and it is important that the correct and updated form is used to ensure the notice is valid. This is because under the Deregulation Act 2015 a Section 21 notice becomes invalid if the prescribed form and relevant rules are not followed. If then landlord does not serve a valid notice and the tenant does not vacate the property, then the landlord may have to re-serve the notice and wait the notice period again.
If a notice has been validly served and a tenant does not vacate the property after the two-month notice period has expired under the Section 21 notice, then the landlord may choose to start possession proceedings. Again, returning to the pre-pandemic time limits, a landlord has 4 months from the expiry date of the notice to start possession proceedings. If a landlord does not start possession proceedings within 4 months, then they may need to re-serve the Section 21 notice and wait the notice period again.
With all that said, the government have retained the power to re-apply the extended notice periods and this power will not expire until 25 March 2022. Therefore, whilst we have returned to the pre-pandemic position for now it is important to keep up with any further changes that may occur. It can be difficult to keep up with ever-changing law so if you wish to speak to a member of our Litigation team about your rights as a landlord or a tenant please do get in touch and we would be happy to assist. Similarly, if you are a landlord or tenant seeking non-contentious advice please do get in touch with our Residential or Commercial team
Giles Wilson Solicitors
T: 01702 477106