Landlords urged to prepare for regulation changes

Landlords urged to prepare for regulation changes

Landlords with tenancies pre-dating October 2015 have been urged to prepare for changes to eviction rules next month.

From Monday 1 October, section 21 eviction rules introduced by the Deregulation Act 2015 will be extended to apply to most tenants in England - not just those which started or were renewed after October 2015.

A section 21 notice allows a landlord to evict a tenant on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) and can be served for any reason, providing they give two months notice.

Most private tenants have an AST since they usually apply to tenancies which started since 1997 and are not shared with the landlord.

The Deregulation Act changed the section 21 process in 2015, so that landlords with "new" tenancies after October 2015 can no longer serve notice in any form of written style but rather must use a prescribed Form 6A - the notice can now only be served after the first four months of a tenancy.

The 2015 changes also saw the implementation of retaliatory eviction provisions, preventing a landlord from serving a section 21 notice within six months of an improvement notice or emergency remedial action notice served by a local authority.

Tenancies agreed after October 2015 must also be accompanied by the latest version of the government "How to Rent" guide and a landlord’s failure to supply an energy performance certificate and gas safety certificate before the tenancy begins will invalidate a section 21 notice.

David Smith, policy director at the Residential Landlords Association, said that while the Deregulation Act changes will be rolled out across all ASTs in October, only the time constraints, Form 6A requirement and retaliatory restrictions will apply to those landlords with tenancies pre-dating 2015.

He added: "With regards to navigating the retaliatory restrictions that will now be applicable to all tenancies, landlords can satisfy this by ensuring their buildings are kept in good condition to avoid a local authority improvement notice which could hinder a section 21 notice."

Andrew Turner, chief executive of buy-to-let broker Commercial Trust Limited, said: "Clearly it is never desirable to have to evict a tenant - but, there are scenarios where it becomes necessary.

"If rent is not being paid and a landlord is vulnerable to missed mortgage payments, there may be no other alternative but to evict -in circumstances like this it is imperative landlords get the process right.

"I urge all landlords to ensure they are clear on the changes, and to seek legal guidance as necessary."