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Section 21 Notice to regain possession of a property

How to use a Section 21 Notice to evict a tenant and regain possession of a property?

If you're a landlord and you want to repossess your property, you'll need to serve a section 21 notice (also known as Form 6A) on your tenant.  A section 21 notice is a formal document that gives the tenant notice of the landlord's intention to repossess the property. It's commonly known as a 'no fault possession notice' because landlords don't have to give a reason for wanting to take possession of the property.

If you want to end an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), you must serve a valid notice on your tenants. This is called a section 21 notice.

To be valid, the notice must:

- be in writing

- give the tenants at least 2 months' notice that they need to leave

- expire on the last day of the tenancy or period of the tenancy

- not be served during the first 4 months of the original tenancy agreement

If you don't follow the correct procedure, you could be taken to court and even fined.

Download the Correct Form and Instructions Here.

If the tenant has breached any terms of their tenancy agreement (for example, if they've fallen into rent arrears or caused damage to the property), then you can serve them with a section 8 notice instead.

When is the best time to serve a Section 21 Notice and how do you do this?

The answer depends on the type of tenancy agreement you have in place. For fixed-term agreements, you can only serve notice after the first four months have passed. For example, if a tenancy commenced on 15 April, you would not be able to serve notice until after four months have passed (ie after 15 August).

For periodic tenancies (where the tenant has no fixed end date), section 21 notices must normally provide at least two months' notice to the tenant. For example, if a six month AST started on 1 January with an end date of 1 July.

If as a tenant you have received a section 21 notice, you may be entitled to a refund of some of the rent you have paid. If you have paid rent in advance for the month (for example, on 1 April) and the section 21 notice states that you need to leave partway through the month (for example, by 5 April), then you are entitled to have the rent proportionally paid back to you. This is because you have paid rent for the full month, but have been told to leave partway through the month.

Download the Correct Form and Instructions Here.

How do you serve the Section 21 Notice?

One way to serve the notice is by post. Make sure you allow three working days for delivery when you use Royal Mail to post your notice. You can also use their next day delivery service which gives you proof of postage. Posting the notice into the postbox yourself gives you the security of knowing when the notice gets to the tenant and removes uncertainty about the method of posting.

Another way to serve the notice is by hand. This involves giving the notice directly to the tenant or slipping it under their door. You can ask someone else to serve the notice for you, as long as they're over 18 and not involved in the tenancy agreement. Make sure you get proof that the notice was served, like a signed receipt or a letter from the person who served it.

If you want to serve a section 21 notice, you can only do so by email if the tenancy agreement allows it and the tenant has voluntarily provided their email address to receive notices and correspondence from the landlord or landlord's agents. If you serve the notice by email, you must also serve a physical copy of the notice by another means (eg hand delivery, post).

If you want to serve a notice, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, all tenants' names and addresses must be shown and match those in the tenancy agreement. Second, you must comply with the tenant deposit scheme legislation and provide all prescribed information. If you have not done so, you cannot serve a section 21 notice.

A landlord cannot use a 'no fault' section 21 notice if they have not given the tenant valid gas safety and energy performance certificates, the current copy of the GOV.UK How to Rent booklet, or if the property is required to be licensed by the Housing Act 2004 but is not licensed. The landlord is also in breach of the provisions relating to the protection of tenancy deposits if they have taken payments prohibited by the Tenant Fees Act 2019 and not repaid them. Finally, a landlord cannot give a section 21 notice in retaliation for a complaint about the condition of the property.

Download the Correct Form and Instructions Here.

The specific provisions of the Legislation are below for further reading if you are so inclined:

The Housing Act 1988 contains provisions in section 21(1)(b) applying to fixed term tenancies state:

"Without prejudice to any right of the landlord under an assured shorthold tenancy to recover possession of the dwelling-house let on the tenancy in accordance with Chapter I above, on or after the coming to an end of an assured shorthold tenancy which was a fixed-term tenancy, a court shall make an order for possession of the dwelling-house if it is satisfied-

  1. that the assured shorthold tenancy has come to an end and no further assured tenancy (whether shorthold or not) is for the time being in existence, other than a statutory periodic tenancy: and
  2. the landlord, or in the case of joint landlords, at least one of them has given to the tenant not less than two months' notice stating that he requires possession of the dwelling-house."

Section 21 Notice to regain possession of a property

Section 21 - Notice of Possession Form

This legally compliant landlord notice and guide is used to gain possession of your rental property or agree a new tenancy once a fixed term expires.

Expiry date: *

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