CHECK YOUR NOTICES
There are two principal Notices for obtaining possession against assured shorthold tenants. Both have been subject to recent changes. It is essential that you check that you are using the right and latest form of the Notice otherwise the Notice could be invalid and you will have to withdraw any Court proceedings based upon that Notice and may have to pay your tenants legal costs as a consequence.
The first is the Notice giving the tenant two months notice under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. This is served to bring a tenancy to an end as of right by the landlord (the tenant does not need to be at fault).
If the tenancy was granted or renewed on or after the 1st October 2015 then you must use the Government’s Form 6A “Notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured shorthold tenancy”. If you use any other form it may not be effective. Please also remember that the Notice will also not be effective if:
1. You have not registered any deposit paid and provided the necessary information to the tenant, including on renewals.
2. It is served within the first four months of the original tenancy.
3. The landlord has not provided the tenant with an Energy Certificate, Gas Safety Certificate or “How To Rent” publication to the tenant.
4. The property requires a licence from the Local Authority, for example for being an HMO Additional Licence or within a selected licensing area and it is not licensed.
5. Where the landlord is prevented from retaliatory eviction under Section 33 of the Deregulation Act 1925, where the Local Authority is involved with disrepair issues.
The other Notice often used to obtain a possession order where a tenant has been in breach of an assured shorthold tenancy is the Notice of Seeking Possession under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.
New grounds have been introduced for possession under ground 7A and 7B relating to serious offences and a tenant not having a “Right to Rent”. Whilst a landlord may be seeking possession on other grounds such as rent arrears and anti-social behaviour and not relying on those grounds, the Notice of Seeking Possession itself gives details of all grounds that exist at the time that Notice is being served and therefore it is essential to check that the Notice you are serving does refer to the new ground 7A and 7B. If it does not then again the Notice may be found to be invalid.
Do not rely on old Notices and do check those supplied under form providers; we have found at least one provider whose Section 8 Notice of Seeking Possession has not been updated in this way.
As ever, great care must be taken in preparing and serving Notices. The Notice is the keystone to any subsequent Court proceedings and if the Notice does not comply with the appropriate requirements or is otherwise defective then the possession proceedings can be struck out with delay in obtaining possession and costly consequences accordingly.
If you have any queries concerning this or any other matter please contact
Jeremy Teall, Sharon Porter-Gayle or Aisha Akhtar in our Landlord and Tenant Team
on 020 8567 3477 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org,
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org