Landlords will be no doubt aware of the regulations currently in force surrounding Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) and due to new legislation this area of law is to be even more tightly regulated from 1st October 2015.

The Deregulation Act 2015 (DA 2015) came into force on 1 October 2015 and the main provisions are summarised below:-:

A landlord cannot serve a section 21 notice ( which is a notice to evict a client) when a tenant has made a written complaint to the landlord about the condition of the premises or the common parts of the building and the landlord has not responded, or given an inadequate response.

Whilst it is evident that the rationale for this provision is to prevent landlords from evicting tenants rather than responding to genuine complaints, in practice landlords must be extra vigilant and ensure that they have investigated complaints thoroughly and responded in full to any complaint made. It is also especially important to ensure that the address for services is up to date in tenancy agreements to prevent landlords inadvertently falling foul of this legislation.

The Landlord is also prevented from serving a section 21 notice in the first 4 months of the AST. Therefore, the practice of serving a section 21 notice at the start of the tenancy is no longer open to a landlord and if they want the tenant to vacate at the end of the initial 6 months they must ensure that the notice is not served too early.

There are also timescales on how long a section 21 notice is validfor and so if the landlord has served a notice then they must be prompt in commencing court action or otherwise the notice will be deemed to be invalid. Proceedings must now be started within six months’ from the date the section 21 was served.

There is also a new prescribed form of section 21 notice that needs to be served if the tenancy was granted on or after 1st October 2015. As there was no previous prescribed form, other forms of notice may be used in relation to tenancies granted before 1 October 2015, at least until 1 October 2018.

Before serving a valid section 21 notice, in addition to the current requirement to have protected the deposit in a recognised scheme, new regulations now provide that the landlord must now:-

It’s not all bad news though, as the DA 2015 removes the need for a landlord to specify a specific date in a section 21 notice, and only 2 clear months’ notice needs to be given. Therefore, hopefully the days of a notice being deemed as invalid for a simple dating error are gone.

However as a result of the above, the tenant is entitled to a refund of rent if the tenant has paid a period of rent in advance, which surpasses the notice period.

If you have any queries regarding the above or wish to discuss evicting a residential tenant then please contact Sarah Roberts on ser@ih.co.uk or via telephone on 0113 284 5096.