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How to serve a valid section 21 notice on your tenant

In this article we go into detail about the Section 21 Notice. We explain what it is and how to ensure you serve a valid section 21 Notice on your tenant. Liam O’Shea, Director & Solicitor in Astle Paterson Solicitors’ Litigation & Dispute Resolution department gives you all the details you need.

What is a Section 21 Notice?

A Section 21 Notice allows a landlord to evict a tenant to regain access to their property. The Section 21 Notice is also commonly called a Notice to Quit.

The benefits of using the Section 21 Notice to Quit is that you don’t have to give a reason for the eviction. The downside to this notice is that you don’t immediately regain your property. You must give at least 2 months notice for your tenant to leave your property.

When can I serve a Section 21 notice to Quit?

To this, Liam says “The vast majority of residential tenancies today are Assured Shorthold Tenancies (‘AST’). An AST provides a landlord with the ability to terminate an AST, once the fixed term of the AST has come to an end. There is no need for them to show any reason why they wish for their tenant to vacate the property. A landlord merely needs to serve a notice on their tenant giving them usually at least 2 months to vacate, pursuant to section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (the ‘Notice’).

However, strict compliance with procedure and any pre-conditions is essential, as otherwise the Notice will be invalid.”.

Ensure the tenants deposit is in a Government backed scheme

The most stringent of the pre-conditions relates to the deposit, which may have been taken from the tenant.

In order to successfully serve a Section 21 Notice to Quit, you should have paid the deposit over to or buy an insurance package from one of three Government backed schemes within 30 days of receiving the deposit. These schemes include the Deposit Protection Service, MyDeposits or Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

The landlord needs to have served an information sheet confirming (amongst other things):

  • how the deposit has been protected
  • the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection scheme which has been used
  • within 30 days of receiving the deposit

Should the landlord fail to do so within 30 days, then they will not be able to serve a valid Section 21 Notice to Quit.

What other requirements are there?

For all assured shorthold tenancies entered into after 1st October 2015, a Notice will not be valid if

  • it is given to the tenant within the first 4 months of the commencement of the AST;
  • it is given within six months’ of service by the local housing authority of an improvement or remedial notice following the tenant making a complaint about the condition of the property before the Notice was served;
  • the landlord has failed to give to the tenant an Energy Performance Certificate for the property or a Gas Safety Certificate before the Notice was served;
  • the landlord has not given to the tenant the leaflet “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” (available from the gov.uk website) before the Notice was served; or
  • Court proceedings seeking possession of the property are commenced more than 6 months after the Notice was given to the tenant.

How do I serve a valid Section 21 Notice to Quit?

If you would like to serve a section 21 Notice to Quit on your tenant, we strongly advise that you consult a solicitor to ensure your notice is valid before deciding to go ahead.

Our experienced Litigation department have a vast amount of experience working with landlords. If you need advice on evicting a tenant, our experienced solicitors are on hand to help.

Want more landlord advice?

We also have a video outlining our services for landlords. Giving you all the essential advice on the common pitfalls on the profession. Watch our video below:

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