A 'Section 21 Notice to Quit', so called because it operates under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, is the notice a landlord can give to a tenant to regain possession of a property at the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). The landlord is able to issue the tenant with a section 21 notice without giving any reason for ending the tenancy agreement.
A common mistake made by many landlords and lettings agents is falling to issue a correct section 21 notice and the effects can be devastating. Avoid the common pitfalls others make; 7 out of 10 applications for possession using the Section 21 Notice process are delayed, rejected or denied!.
It is imperative landlords are aware that The Law changed April 2012 and if you failed to protect a Tenants Deposit or issue the prescribed information you CANNOT use this process until you remedy the breach. The following guidelines will give you advice for how to issue a section 21 correctly
1) TENANT : All persons named on the original tenancy agreement should be written here. It is no good to issue it to one tenant or separate sections 21's to each tenant
2) ADDRESS : This is the address of the property that they are renting from you which is specified on the tenancy agreement
3) LANDLORD: The section 21 Notice should supply the landlords Full Name and also provide an address where the Tenant can communicate with the Landlord that is in England or Wales and not a PO Box. This should ideally be the same address as specified in the Tenancy Agreement It is advisable to note that the capacity of the signatory must be specified Landlord or the Agent. In the case of Joint Landlords either party may sign the Notice. Again it is preferable that the paper work matches perfectly, if the AST was signed by the landlord then it is recommended consistency should be applied and the landlord should sign. This way you are eliminating the risk of potential queries that may result in a Judge calling a Hearing to satisfy a query that good delay the eviction process. It is advisable to note that the section 21 notice can only be signed by a Landlord [who is named on the deeds of the property] or their Agent.
4) PROPERTY: Insert the address of the rental property in full including postcode
5) EXPIRY: This is the date “This notice expires after_______________”. Many Notices are deemed invalid because people fail to realise this date is enshrined in the law and the date specified must comply with Section 21 1b or 21 4a of the 1988 Housing Act [and subsequent amendments of the 1996 Housing Act].
6) SIGNATURE: Sign and date the Notice. The dating of the Notice is a complexity in that you may sign it today but if sent by post or delivered to the tenants after 4.30 pm and if you serve on a Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday, the next working day principle arises in the service of Notices. What this basically means is the date of expiry of the notice must be no less than 2 months after the Tenant received and NOT when you sign. The Notice should typically be dated to expire the LAST day of a rental period UNLESS the Notice is served in the last 2 months of the FIXED term.
7) The Tenant's Signature – If the Tenant signs your copy of the Notice then they can never deny receiving it and by the action of signing has eliminated one of the biggest defences used to thwart possession claims.
Landlords should note that the use of a section 21 notice is purely to obtain possession of a landlord residential investment property it cannot be used to reclaim unpaid rent.
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