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Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) and the Deregulation Act 2015 – D-Day No. 2

Jessica Irwin

Senior associate solicitor Jessica Irwin, in our Dispute Resolution team, explains the Deregulation Act 2015 relating to the serving of Section 21 notices and how this will apply to all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) from 1 October 2018.

Landlords of residential properties let on a Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs) will be aware of the potentially onerous provisions of the Deregulation Act 2015 (2015 Act) which have applied to all ASTs entered into on or after 1 October 2015, making the “no-fault” based Section 21 procedure rather more complicated to negotiate. Those landlords with tenancies from prior to October 2015 have been able to relax a little. Not for much longer…

From 1 October 2018 the provisions in the 2015 Act relating to the service of Section 21 notices will apply to all ASTs, no matter when they commenced.  All Landlords of assured shorthold tenants therefore need to be aware of the effects of the 2015 Act and take steps to protect themselves wherever possible. 

By way of a reminder, the requirements of the 2015 Act relate to the provision to tenants at the start of the tenancy (for more detail on this point, click here) of Gas Safety Certificates, Energy Performance Certificates, and the Government’s “How to Rent” booklet.  The 2015 Act also prevents so-called “retaliatory evictions” (where a tenant has complained to the Local Authority about disrepair issues prior to the service of the Section 21 Notice) and provides that Section 21 Notices, once served, are only valid for 6 months and must be in a prescribed form.

Until 1 October 2018 it is still possible for Landlords of tenants whose ASTs commenced prior to 1 October 2015 (as long as they have not become statutory periodic tenancies upon the expiry of the fixed term on or after that date) to serve an old-form Section 21 Notice (i.e. not the form prescribed by the 2015 Act) on their tenants and then issue proceedings on the expiry of that notice, even if that is after 1 October 2018, without having had to comply with the 2015 Act requirements in relation to Gas Safety Certificates, EPCs etc. (as referred to above).  This will be particularly helpful to those landlords who may not have provided the required documents to the tenants at the outset.

The advice to landlords is that if they have any concerns that they may not have complied with the requirements of the 2015 Act in relation to tenancies entered into prior to 1 October 2015, and they are considering regaining possession using the Section 21 procedure, they should seek legal advice sooner rather than later with a view to serving an old-form Section 21 Notice as soon as possible and certainly prior to 1 October 2018.

As an aside, irrespective of the implications of the 2015 Act, landlords must also ensure that any deposit obtained from assured shorthold tenants has been correctly protected within one of the tenancy deposit schemes within the prescribed time limit (currently 30 days of receipt). 

For further information or legal advice, please contact Jessica Irwin or a member of our team.

This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.