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New law: New rules for landlords terminating Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) of residential property


Landlords of ASTs should review their tenancies to check whether, and how, new rules affect their ability to recover possession of their properties.

 

The law says that landlords can usually recover possession of property let under an AST by giving tenants two months' written notice to quit (a 'section 21 notice') without having to give any reason. The notice can be given during the AST or, if it has expired, during the periodic tenancy which automatically arises on expiry if the tenant remains in possession of the property, but the landlord must follow different procedures in each case.

 

The rules governing section 21 notices were changed from 26 March 2015:

 

  • Since 6 April 2007, landlords of ASTs have had to protect tenants' deposits under one of three government-accredited schemes, designed to ensure fairness between landlords and tenants when the tenancy ends. Where the contractual term of an AST ended before 6 April 2007 (ie before the tenant deposit rules were introduced) and the deposit has not been protected before 23 June, a landlord may not serve a valid notice to end the AST (a 'section 21 notice').
  • A landlord may not be able to give a valid section 21 notice if a tenant has given notice to the landlord complaining about disrepair at the property.
  • Landlords may no longer serve a post-dated section 21 when the AST begins, but must wait at least four months from the start of the tenancy.
  • The old rule that the date specified in a section 21 notice for expiry of the tenancy had to expire on the last day of a periodic tenancy has been abolished. Landlords can give two months' notice expiring at any time to terminate a periodic tenancy.

In addition, new rules may well come into force in October 2015, that section 21 notices are only valid for six months after they are served.

 

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Landlords of ASTs should review each of their tenancies to check whether the new rules have affected their ability to give a section 21 notice, and how they should do so.

Added: 21 Jul 2015 14:13


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