These have been brought in by sections 33 to 41 of the Deregulation Act 2014 (DA 2015) and the snappily-titled Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 (SI/2015/1646) (“the 2015 Regulations”).
Which ASTs are affected by the new rules?
- The new rules will only apply to ASTs granted on or after 1 October 2015.
- They will not apply to a fixed term AST granted prior to that date, even if after 1 October 2015 the fixed term AST becomes a statutory periodic tenancy.
- However, all but one of the new rules will apply to all ASTs after 1 October 2018.
What are the new rules?
- The 2015 Regulations set out a new prescribed form of section 21 notice (Form No. 6A). This must be used for all ASTs created on or after 1 October 2015 (except for periodic tenancies which have arisen after that date but were fixed term ASTs created before 1 October 2015), and may also be used for all ASTs.
- It will no longer be necessary for any s.21 notice to expire on the last date of a period of a tenancy (in England). The requirement is solely that two months’ notice is given.
- Landlords cannot serve a s.21 notice during the first 4 months of an AST, thereby ensuring that tenants are actually given a separate two months’ notice before the AST will come to an end.
- Landlords cannot serve a s.21 notice unless it has already provided the tenant with:
(i) an energy performance certificate (EPC) free of charge;
(ii) a copy of a gas safety certificate; and
(iii) a copy of a booklet issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) called ‘How to rent: the checklist for renting England’, which explains the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and tenant under an AST.
- Landlords will be prevented from carrying out ‘retaliation evictions’ if a tenant has complained of disrepair to the property.
- Tenants will also have a statutory right to claim back rent paid in advance if that rent relates to a period falling after a s.21 notice has ended the tenancy.
If you wish to discuss any of the issues raised in this article please contact us.