A Tenant’s guide: Section 21 notice

Introduction

A Section 21 notice allows the landlord to end an AST without giving a reason such as the breach of a term of the tenancy agreement. Section 21 relates to the part of The Housing Act 1988 which states that a minimum of two months notice must be served on a tenant before a Landlord can gain possession of a property. In 1996 the Housing
Act was amended to include the requirement that the minimum two months notice must be served in writing.

When is a section 21 notice used?

A Section 21 notice can be served at any time after an AST has begun, but the Tenant must be allowed to occupy the property for a minimum of 6 months or until the end of their fixed term, whichever is longer. If the tenant has breached a term of the AST, the landlord can regain possession of the property by issuing a Section 8 notice and
enforcing it through the County Court, for more information see A Tenant’s guide: Section 8 notice.

If your fixed term tenancy has ended

If an AST has come out of its fixed term – usually 6 or 12 months – it has become a periodic tenancy. A periodic tenancy can be thought of as a rolling tenancy which last for a week, two weeks or a month, depending how often the rent is paid (weekly, fortnightly, or monthly). A periodic tenancy begins immediately after the fixed term expires, so if the fixed term expires on the 15th of the month then the period of the tenancy begins on the 16th. The Landlord must give the Tenant 2 months notice that they want to regain possession of their property, ending on the last day of the tenancy period i.e. the day before the rent payment date. The notice can only be enforced after that date i.e. on what was the rent payment date.

What happens if the tenant refuses to leave?

If the Tenant does not leave the property after receiving a correctly issued Section 21 notice, the landlord may use the County Court to evict the Tenant. If the Section 21 has been issued correctly, the judge must evict the tenant. If the Tenant does not leave after the court has issued the Tenant with a notice to leave, the Landlord can ask County Court Bailiffs to evict the Tenant. The Tenant may be liable for the Landlord’s costs incurred by using the County Court.

What happens if the landlord issues another fixed term tenancy?

A Section 21 notice only applies to the tenancy the tenant is currently in. If the landlord issues a Section 21 notice and then agrees to give the tenant another fixed term tenancy, the Section 21 notice will not be enforceable and a new one must be issued for the new tenancy.

Summary

A Section 21 notice allows Landlords to regain possession of a property without the Tenant breaching the terms of the AST. A Section 21 notice is issued if the landlord wants to regain possession of their property at the end of the current fixed term or periodic AST. If the Tenant does not leave the property, the Tenant may be taken to County Court. If the Section 21 has been issued correctly, the County Court judge must grant the Landlord possession and the tenant must leave. If the Tenant does not leave, the Landlord can use County Court Bailiffs to evict the Tenant.