What is a Section 21 Notice?

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A section 21 notice, also known as a section 21 notice of possession or a section 21 eviction, is a legal document used in England and Wales to start the process of ending an assured shorthold tenancy. This type of tenancy is the most common form of private renting in these regions.

Purpose:

  • It allows a landlord to inform a tenant that they want them to leave the property at the end of the notice period, without needing to give a reason.
  • It’s the first step in the legal process for the landlord to regain possession of the property.

What it does:

  • A section 21 notice informs the tenant that the landlord wants them to leave the property by a specific date.
  • It doesn’t require the landlord to give a reason for ending the tenancy.
  • If the tenant doesn’t leave by the specified date, the landlord can apply to the court for a possession order, which could lead to eviction by bailiffs.

Key points:

  • Notice period: Landlords must give tenants at least 2 months’ notice to leave, although it can be longer depending on the tenancy agreement.
  • For contractual periodic tenancies (where a fixed term tenancy ended and continued as a rolling period), the notice period must be the same as the rental period, if that’s longer than 2 months (e.g., 3 months’ notice for quarterly rent payments).
  • Validity: The notice must be served correctly and meet specific legal requirements to be valid. Invalid notices won’t lead to a successful eviction.
  • Tenant rights: Tenants have certain rights, such as challenging the notice in court or seeking alternative accommodation support from the council.

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Form and Content:

  • Use the prescribed Form 6A.
  • Include the correct date, property address, tenant names, and required information about deposit protection, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), and gas safety certificate.

Service of Notice:

  • Serve the notice in writing, using a method like hand delivery, recorded delivery, or first-class post.
  • If the tenant doesn’t acknowledge receipt, you need to prove it was served correctly.

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Additional Requirements:

  • You must have protected the tenant’s deposit within 30 days of receiving it and provided the prescribed information.
  • You must have given the tenant a valid EPC for the property before serving the notice.
  • If the property has gas, you must have provided a valid gas safety certificate before serving the notice and each year of their tenancy.
  • You must have provided the tenant with the “How to Rent” guide before they moved in.
  • You cannot serve a Section 21 notice during the first 4 months of the original tenancy.
  • You cannot serve a notice if you require a licence for the property (e.g., HMOs) and haven’t obtained it.
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