The Deregulation Act 2015 introduced additional restrictions on landlords of assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) granted in England on or after October 1, 2015. These relate to the service of notices to terminate an AST using the “no fault” procedures in s.21 Housing Act 1988 (s.21 notice). There was a limited reprieve for ASTs granted before then, but that is about to come to an end.
From (and including) October 1, 2018, the following will also apply to ASTs granted before October 1, 2015
- All s.21 notices must be in a prescribed form.
- Claims for an order of possession must begin within a specified time limit after service of the s.21 notice.
- There are restrictions intended to clamp down on so-called retaliatory evictions. For example, in order to prevent “rogue” landlords seeking to avoid their obligations to repair or maintain a property by evicting tenants, a s.21 notice cannot be served within six months of the local housing authority serving an improvement or emergency remedial notice on the landlord.
- Tenants have the right to repayment of rent paid in advance in respect of the period after a s.21 notice brings the tenancy to an end.
Landlords of ASTs granted on or after 1 October 2015 are also not permitted to serve a s.21 notice if they have not provided the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate. It is not clear whether this requirement also applies to ASTs granted before then: it is to be hoped that further regulations or official guidance will clarify the position.
Stop press: In our July Focus we reported on a government consultation seeking views on a compulsory 3-year fixed term for ASTs. Recent press reports suggest that these proposals may now be scrapped – watch this space!