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Confusing Section 21 rules baffle landlords
17 September 2015
Evicting problem tenants has become a little more complicated for landlords as confusing new procedures were announced by the government.
The new rules affect Section 21 notices landlords must serve to gain possession of a property from tenants.
The latest upgrade of the regulations call for landlords to serve a stack of paperwork on tenants but some letting agents and lawyers claim the process is unclear.
From October 1, landlords starting new tenancies, besides the tenancy agreement and deposit protection documentation, must give tenants:
• A valid energy performance certificate (EPC)
• A valid gas safety certificate
• A How to Rent booklet offering advice to tenants about their obligations and rights
The booklet must be printed off from the government web site for each tenancy.
The conditions do not apply to tenancies starting before that date, but landlords can opt to serve the new Section 21 form to any tenant.
To add to the confusion, if the property needs a licence from the local authority but does not have one, the new Section 21 form cannot be served.
The process is also denied to landlords if the eviction is retaliatory or if a deposit is not protected.
The problem, argue lawyers and letting agents, is the guidance is not precise and tenants do not have to sign any proof of service.
“This could mean tenants deny they have had the paperwork and leave the landlord with no way to prove service,” said Total Landlord Insurance Director, Steve Barnes.
“These are complicated rules and the lettings industry has not been given any meaningful guidance.
“It seems no one will supervise enforcing these rules and they will just be an agreement be the landlord and tenant, which could prove to be a nightmare for the courts.”
Landlords can read the Landlord And Tenant, England - The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 here
The official guidance notes are here