What do I need to do before I can serve a section 21 notice?


Since it was introduced in 1989 the Section 21 notice requirements have become more and more complex. 

Here are the current rules. NB Section 21 can only be used for Assured Shorthold Tenancies - so references to tenancies below means specifically assured shorthold tenancies.

For tenancies in Wales

If the tenant has paid a deposit, this must be protected in a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme and the prescribed information served on the tenant.  See the deposits section for more information.

If the property is an HMO which needs licensing, you must have obtained a license.  However, you can serve a section 21 notice after the application has been made even if it is not actually granted (provided you serve the notice while the application is being processed).  You can also serve a notice if the Local Authority has granted a temporary exemption notice.

EnglandFor tenancies in England

In addition to the rules applicable in Wales:

  1. You must have served an Energy Performance Certificate before the start of the tenancy
  2. You must have served a valid Gas Safety Certificate before the start of the tenancy (NB items 1 and 2 of these do not apply to pre 1 October 2015 tenancies which have not been renewed but have run on as a periodic after 30 September 2015)
  3. You must have served an up to date version of the governments How to Rent booklet

You will also not be able to serve a section 21 notice within 6 months of service upon you by your Local Authority of any of the following notices:

(a) a notice served under section 11 of the Housing Act 2004 (improvement notices relating to category 1 hazards),
(b) a notice served under section 12 of that Act (improvement notices relating to category 2 hazards), or
(c) a notice served under section 40(7) of that Act (emergency remedial action);

If your tenant had previously complained about any of the issues set out in the notice, then any section 21 notice served after the complaint and before the service of the Local Authority notice, will be retrospectively invalidated.After 1 October 2018

Time limits: Note also that you cannot serve a section 21 notice within 4 months of the start of a new tenancy and you will not be able to issue proceedings under section 21 more than six months after service or (for periodic tenancies) more than four months after the date on the notice.



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