Further Restrictions on a Landlord's Ability to end an AST
In an attempt to ban so called ‘retaliatory’ or ‘revenge’ evictions, the Department for Communities and Local Government (‘DCLG’) has announced various changes that will affect how residential tenancies can be ended.
Currently, a landlord can bring an assured shorthold tenancy to an end by serving a section 21 notice in accordance with the Housing Act 1998, once the fixed term has ended. Alternatively, under section 8 of the Act, a landlord can also end a tenancy if it has appropriate grounds to do so, including anti-social behaviour and tenant rent arrears. If a tenant refuses to leave the property on the date specified in a section 21 or section 8 notice, landlords then have to apply to the courts for a ‘possession order’.
However, these recent changes impose restrictions on such notices. For example, the eviction of a tenant can be suspended if the landlord has failed to comply with certain legal obligations, such as obtaining a gas safety certificate or EPC. What’s more, where a tenant has complained about disrepair at the property and the landlord has failed to rectify this, if the tenant then complains to the Council and an improvement/remedial action notice is issued, even on-going possession proceedings will be suspended. Therefore, landlords should be careful to ensure they have fulfilled all their obligations so as to prevent a section 21 or section 8 notice being deemed invalid.
Other changes to the eviction process include:
- Limiting a landlord’s ability to serve a section 21 notice at the start of an AST, to ensure that tenants are actually given two months’ notice before the tenancy comes to an end.
- Introducing a prescribed form for a notice served under section 21 to simplify the process for landlords and reduce scope for error.
- Introducing an obligation on landlords to provide information about the respective rights and responsibilities of both the landlord and the tenant under an AST.
- Introducing a procedure that would give a tenant a statutory right to claim back rent paid in advance in respect of a period falling after a section 21 notice brings the tenancy to an end.
These new restrictions will not affect ASTs where the fixed term was granted before these provisions came into force.
If you are concerned about any of the above issue or would like further advice, please call us on 020 7186 1600 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org