The Deregulation Act 2015 (the Act) came into force on 1 October 2015. It introduced a number of changes in respect of a residential landlord’s ability to bring an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) to an end.
The Act increased the burden on landlords wanting to serve a valid notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (‘s21 notice’). Section 21 notices are used to terminate an AST and regain possession either at the end of the initial fixed term, or later. The s21 notice procedure allows a landlord to use the ‘no fault’ accelerated possession claim procedure in the County Court.
Initially the changes applied to AST’s created on or after 1 October 2015. However, from 1 October 2018, the requirements apply to all ASTs regardless of when they were granted. Landlords have had a transitional period of three years to take appropriate action.
Section 41(3) of the Act provides that the restrictions will apply to all existing ASTs after a period of three years from their introduction – that is, 1 October 2018. On or after this date landlords will have to comply with extra restrictions, a summary of which follows:
Landlords and their agents and solicitors must take heed of the new rules. Failure to comply with these new requirements could result in a court treating a s21 notice as invalid, with inevitable additional costs and delays in recovering possession.