Changes to the regime for evicting tenants with ASTs: in force now

Written on 3 Oct 2018

As from 1 October 2018, provisions of the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force and will impact on all assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs) that commenced before 1 October 2015. Some of these changes are considered below.

Prescribed section 21 Notice

  • As of 1 October 2018, the prescribed form notice under Section 21 (6A) will have to be used for all section 21 notices, regardless of the start date of the tenancy. Previously, the prescribed form only had to be used where the AST commenced on or after 1 October 2015.
  • Possession proceedings have to be issued within 6 months of the date of service of a section 21 notice, after which the notice will become invalid.

Although not applicable to pre-2015 ASTs, landlords are now not able to serve a section 21 notice in the first 4 months of a tenancy.

Retaliatory eviction provisions

The retaliatory eviction provisions came into force on 1 October 2015 with the intention of protecting tenants against unfair eviction where they have raised a legitimate complaint about the condition of their home.

Initially, these provisions only applied to AST’s that started on or after 1 October 2015. The new rules provide that from 1 October 2018, the retaliatory eviction provisions will apply to all AST’s, regardless of the start date of the tenancy.

Therefore, where:

  1. i) a tenant has made a written complaint about the condition of the property,
  2. ii) the landlord has failed to respond to the complaints or rectify the issues complained of but has served a section 21 notice, and
  3. iii) the Local Housing Authority has subsequently served an Improvement Notice or Emergency Remedial Notice,

the section 21 notice will be invalid.

In addition, no section 21 notice can be served within the six months after a Local Housing Authority has served an Improvement Notice or an Emergency Remedial Notice.

Prescribed information and documentation

The requirements for service of EPC’s, the How to Rent guide and Gas Safety certificates for pre-12 October 2015 tenancies are not clear. For tenancies granted after that date, no section 21 Notice can be served unless the tenant has been provided with the prescribed information and legal requirements as set out in regulations.

Currently the only regulations are the Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015, which apply only to the majority of tenancies commencing on or after 1 October 2015. New or amended regulations will be required to be applicable to pre-1 October 2015 tenancies and as drafted there is currently no requirement to provide any such documents to tenancies starting before that date.

This article was prepared with the assistance of Katie Howell, paralegal at Osborne Clarke LLP.