Government introduces Section 21 Notice Requiring Possession – Prescription requirements from the 1st October 2015

Landlords must provide tenants with EPC and Gas Safety Certificates and use a new statutory form of Section 21 Notice from the 1st October 2015. There are limits on when Notices can be served which will only be valid for SIX months.

Brandon Lewis, as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has issued the “Regulations relating to Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and prescribed requirements”. These come into force on the 1st October 2015 and relate to any Assured Shorthold Tenancies that are created on or after that date.

The prescribed requirements and other provisions from the Deregulation Act 2015 will need to be complied with to ensure that a Section 21 Notice Requiring Possession is not invalid.

These are:

That the prescribed form of Section 21 Notice approved by the Secretary of State must be used.

The Notice must not be served if the tenant has resided in the property for less than four months.

The Notice is only valid for six months from the date of issue of a fixed term Assured Shorthold Tenancy or if there is a Periodic Tenancy for four months from the date of issue.

The landlord must comply with the prescribed requirements. The relevant Regulations have been issued and require the tenant to be supplied with an energy performance certificate and an up-to-date gas safety certificate free of charge. In addition, at the start of the tenancy the tenant must be supplied with the latest version of a Government leaflet entitled “How to rent – The checklist for renting in England”.

The landlord is prevented from serving a Section 21 Notice as a retaliatory eviction under Section 33 of the Deregulation Act 2015 where the tenant had complained to the Council about disrepair.

The existing provision that the Section 21 Notice will not be valid where the landlord has not protected the tenant’s deposit under one of the Government’s three approved tenant deposit schemes still applies.

The landlord cannot rely on the Section 21 Notice if the property is not licensed correctly as a House of Multiple Occupation where it should be or the property is not licensed under a Local Authority Private Rented Property Licence when it should have been. Landlords should check with their Local Authority as to any licensing requirements. More Councils are introducing such schemes so up-to-date information is required.

There is also a requirement under the new Section 21 Notice that a calendar date is stated within the form for the tenant to leave and that date should allow not just for the two months but also for service of the Notice, that is two additional days when a Notice is posted by first class post.

These Regulations apply to all new tenancies after the 1st October 2015. The requirement to provide the prescribed requirements referred to above does not apply where:

Where the landlord is a registered private provider of social housing or

The tenancy is a replacement tenancy when the original pre-dated 1st October 2015 or

The landlord or person acting on behalf of the landlord provided the tenant with the documentation required under an earlier tenancy and

The version of the document provided to the tenant under the earlier tenancy is the same version as the version which is in effect on the first day of the new tenancy.

It is vital that landlords comply with these requirements. Any failure to do so will affect a landlord’s ability to recover possession. The requirements are highlighted in the Section 21 Notice that has been issued by the Government. It is anticipated that tenant’s representatives will seek to persuade the Court that a Notice is invalid, in particular under the accelerated possession procedure, much in the same way as has taken place with regard to the deposit registration provisions.

Jeremy-TeallIf you have any queries concerning the matters raised please contact
Jeremy Teall, Sharon Porter-Gayle or Aisha Akhtar
of Prince Evans Solicitors LLP’s Housing Management Team on
020 8567 3477 or e-mail;;