A Noticeable Change

The Court of Appeal has recently decided that provided a periodic Assured Shorthold Tenancy commenced as a fixed term, a Landlord is only required to give two months’ notice under section 21(1) of the Housing Act 1988 and need not worry about the rigours of using the correct word and the correct date under section 21(4).

“Whilst to obtain a possession order for residential property a landlord must follow the requirements as set out in section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, those requirements, which have been strictly followed by District Judges, now appear to have been relaxed by the Court of Appeal following the case of Spencer v Taylor” so says Liam O’Shea, a Director at Astle Paterson.

Liam continues that “Landlords have encountered District Judge’s across England & Wales deciding that their Notice seeking possession of the property as served under section 21 is invalid.   Landlords will no doubt be comforted by the decision of Spencer v Taylor which appears to confirm that provided a periodic AST commenced as a fixed term, the only requirement is to give a ‘simple’ two months’ notice under section 21(1) – rather than the more complex notice of a notice under section 21(4).

A few words of caution; first it is not known whether the tenant in the case will seek to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal and, secondly, it is currently unclear how readily District Judges will follow the guidance laid down by Spencer v Taylor.

It is therefore important that before you serve notices on your tenant you seek legal advice.”

Liam O’Shea of Astle Paterson specialises in the law of Landlord & Tenant and carries out work on behalf of Landlords throughout Burton upon Trent and the surrounding areas – please contact him on 01283 531366 or by email at

Should you wish to read the Judgment of Spencer v Taylor [2013] EWCA Civ 1600 then please click here.

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