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Property Hawk

Section 21 Warning Shot

The section 21 notice is a powerful tool. It is the one document that gives a landlord the certainty of possession.  Why?  Because the law says so.  The wording of the Housing Act is that providing the section 21 notice has been correctly served the judge must grant the landlord a possession order at the end of the notice period.  Just to note though, some judges can be soft touches and give tenants and extended grace period to move out, of up to 42 days.

This might not sound much but it is exceedingly annoying for a landlord who has been used, lied to,  and not received rent for months.  But hey, this is the law in action.

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Section 21 notice – warning shot strategy


I’ve had a tenant recently miss a rental payment. Not only that; she has managed to lock herself out several times, resulting in her having to break back into my flat.  The first time it cost me to have the locks changed (I obviously can’t prove that the mechanism wasn’t broken, she insisted it was); the second time she had the grace to smash a window pane and get it repaired herself.  In her latest incident she managed to block up the toilet.


I have found using a section 21 notice can be a useful warning shot to a tenant.  It does after all give the landlord the whip hand in the possession process. Even if you don’t end up following through with a N5B notice for possession to finally obtain a possession order

The serving of the section 21 notice will hopefully send a shot across the tenants bows, and show that you mean business. Some landlords and letting agents even suggest that it’s a good idea to obtain a section 21 notice at the start of the tenancy. However the risk with this is that without proof that the section 21 notice was served after the tenancy was signed the courts could theoretically refuse to recognise the section 21 notice as not being correctly served.  Unlikely, and I haven’t heard of it occurring, but nevertheless theoretically possible.


So, my tenant does not know it yet, but she will be getting a recorded delivery shortly which she will need to sign for as proof of receipt.  This will hopefully remind her that she has responsibilities as a tenant as well as rights!


Do you have a specific question on section 21 notices then please register and post them to our landlord forum.

If you need expert legal advice then contact Rebecca from Fidler & Pepper and she will be able to point you in the right direction.

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Comments (6)

serving Scn 21 or Scn 8 Notice to Quit
I ALWAYS SERVE A SECTION 13.2 NOTICE AT SAME TIME AS SERVING NOTICES TO QUIT AND SO INCREASING THE RENT BY AT LEAST 10% OR MORE. IF THEY WAIT FOR A COURT ORDER TO MOVE OUT(AND LONGER) AT LEAST THEY WILL PAY FOR IT. I ALSO INVITE THEM TO PAY ALL THE ARREARS WITHIN 10 DAYS AND I WILL WITHDRAW THE NOTICES !

THE 13.2 NOTICE MUST GIVE AT LEAST 1 MONTH AND A DAY ADVANCE OF THE MONTHLY RENTAL DUE DAY. YOU ALSO NEED TO MENTION THAT BY SERVING THIS IT DOES NOT IMPLY A TENANCY EXTENSION.
#1 - derek - 09/27/2013 - 12:36
serving Scn 21 or Scn 8 Notice to Quit
I ALWAYS SERVE A SECTION 13.2 NOTICE AT SAME TIME AS SERVING NOTICES TO QUIT AND SO INCREASING THE RENT BY AT LEAST 10% OR MORE. IF THEY WAIT FOR A COURT ORDER TO MOVE OUT(AND LONGER) AT LEAST THEY WILL PAY FOR IT. I ALSO INVITE THEM TO PAY ALL THE ARREARS WITHIN 10 DAYS AND I WILL WITHDRAW THE NOTICES !

THE 13.2 NOTICE MUST GIVE AT LEAST 1 MONTH AND A DAY ADVANCE OF THE MONTHLY RENTAL DUE DAY. YOU ALSO NEED TO MENTION THAT BY SERVING THIS IT DOES NOT IMPLY A TENANCY EXTENSION.
#2 - derek - 09/27/2013 - 12:36
S21
I always serve a S21 at the begining or certainly within the first couple of weeks once the deposit is regestered. In all cases I get the tenant to sign the S21 as well, then use that signature as evedence (C1) on the N5B application

Sending it by recorded delivery is no proof at all. They can just argue you sent them a blank sheet of paper. Unlikely I know but if doubt can be cast a judje might be minded to give the benefit of the doubt.

In the days before I did them at the start, on the odd occasions I had to serve S21 I always got a witness to read the S21, then date and time a witness statement. Also accompanied by photos.

Never had an S21 fail. Had one stall because N5B was not issued by both LL's just myself, but that was a lesson learned.
#3 - Kevin - 09/27/2013 - 18:47
ABILITY TO SERVE SECTION 21 AND PROTECTED DEPOSITS
My solicitor acted for the landlord in the superstrike ltd v rodrigues 2013 case.

Guidance is available at http://www.depositprotection.com/documents/superstrike-vs-rodrigues-guidance-on-implications.pdf

An interesting case which casts doubt on the status of a periodic tenancy and the ability to serve a section 21 notice.
#4 - Mike B - 09/30/2013 - 12:04
Derek I disagree with your strategy when service a S21 then a rent increase, you are terminating the tenancy with the S21, agreed but by increasing the rent you are granting a new tenancy. if you hhve got away with this you are lucky, bet you dont tell the judge you have served a rent increase though?
#5 - mark stokes - 09/30/2013 - 18:10
Serving the notice
A word of advice on serving notices.
DO NOT use recorded delivery or registered post.

The recorded or registered post can be recognised by a tenant and it can be refused. This applies especially to tenants who know that action may be taken against them. Also there is no proof that the scribble on the signed for is the actual tenant. It could be partner or child.

ALL my legal notices for court , section 21, section 8 etc are sent first class with a CERTIFICATE OF POSTING.

It is deemed that the document has been delivered by courts. In my last case on producing the certificate of posting the judge added 2 days to the date I posted it so it is worth remembering to always add a couple of days to your served dates to comply with notice periods.

Dont forget that your original cert of posting must be producable in court. I have always used this method in all my court cases and it is never questioned. On the other hand I have had tenants say they never received the recorded/registered post and that someone else must have signed.

By the way second class post is NOT acceptable.
#6 - Nige - 11/23/2013 - 12:02
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