Navigate the recent changes to Section 21 notices with the most up-to-date information, plus find out how using Reposit can help reduce the risk of serving an invalid Section 21 notice.
What is a Section 21 notice and what is it used for?
Section 21 is a notice served to tenants to obtain possession of the property without fault - e.g. the landlord wants to take back the property at the end of a tenancy or use the break clause. The landlord doesn't have to give any reason for a Section 21.
If a Section 21 is served incorrectly it may be invalid, making it difficult for landlords to regain possession of their property from renters.
What is needed under the new Section 21 legislation?
Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) that start on or after October 1st 2015 come under the new Section 21 legislation. This requires landlords (or their agents) to serve tenants specific documents at the start of the tenancy. If these aren't given to tenants at the start of the tenancy it could make a Section 21 notice invalid later. The documents needed are:
- Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
- Gas Safety Certificate
- Confirmation that smoke alarms have been fitted on every floor and are in working order
- Confirmation that carbon monoxide alarms have been fitted in any room with a fuel burning source and are in working order
- How to rent: The checklist for renting in England (see the Government checklist here)
- Deposit documents: if a deposit has been taken, you must provide confirmation it has been protected and details of the scheme it is protected with
There are a number of safety regulations to abide by, and not checking these could also result in fines up to £5000! On top of this, landlord/agent responses to repairs during the tenancy also impact on when a Section 21 notice can be served (see FixFlo's useful infographic for how this works).
With all the health and safety documents to collate and organise, the added admin hassle of registering and protecting a deposit can slip to the bottom of the pile - it's not quite as important as checking the smoke alarms work, right?!
However, failing to protect a tenant's deposit can also result in a penalty - the tenant can claim up to three times the deposit value as compensation.
Reposit helps reduce the paperwork at the start of the tenancy and reduces the risk of an invalid Section 21 later
With Reposit, there's no deposit paid by the tenant. Instead, they pay us 1 week's rent as a fee and we still offer you up to the value of 6 weeks' rent for any breaches of the AST. When a tenant signs up, we send them our Terms and Conditions with all the information in the agreement so you don't have to.
This means there's no need to register the deposit or serve any notice to the tenant regarding the deposit - reduce your admin and save paper! Additionally, when a tenancy ends or a Section 21 is served, there's no deposit to return to your tenant, making it a much quicker and smoother move out process.
With the deadline approaching for letting agents to invest in Client Money Protection (CMP), there's less risk involved for tenants who don't pay a deposit. See our recent blog on CMP and how it affects letting agents here.
To find out more about how Reposit can help streamline your agency workload and increase your revenue through commission see the freshly updated letting agents page and watch our 2 min video.