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Calling All Residential Landlords & Letting Agents

by Published on

This new ‘How to Rent’ booklet requirement may prove particularly onerous on landlords, as the Department for Communities and Local Government is not keeping a record of the different versions of the booklet issued; this may make it difficult for landlords to know whether the ‘How to Rent’ booklet that they have served upon their tenant is the most up to date version.

The Deregulation Act 2015 requires landlords to re-serve the booklet whenever it is updated, failing which a Section 21 Notice, again, cannot be served. It is, therefore, essential for landlords going forward to download the ‘How to Rent’ booklet from the Government website and serve it upon the tenant before serving any Section 21 Notice and show that they have done so.

Following the Deregulation Act 2015, landlords must use the prescribed form of Section 21 Notice. The new Section 21 Notice cannot be served within the first four months of the tenancy and, once served, has a life span of only six months, following which a new Section 21 Notice would have to be served. Landlords must, therefore, ensure that they serve a Section 21 Notice at the correct time so as to obtain possession on a particular date and can no longer merely rely upon a Notice served at the start of a tenancy.

The Deregulation Act 2015 also now prevents landlords from serving a retaliatory Section 21 Notice upon a tenant who has made a written complaint about the condition of a property where the Local Authority subsequently issues the landlord with an Improvement Notice. A landlord cannot serve a Section 21 Notice for a period of six months after the issuing of an Improvement Notice, with very limited exceptions.

The above changes apply to all assured shorthold tenancies that came into existence on or after 1 October 2015. From 1 October 2018, the changes will apply to all assured shorthold tenancies.

If further information is required in relation to residential landlord and tenant matters, including possession proceedings, please contact Jennifer Atkinson, a solicitor in our Civil Litigation team, on 0191 2550221 or at jenniferatkinson@samuelphillips.co.uk.

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