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Dating section 21 notices

Section 21 notice dates – where are we now?

Rebecca Brough our resident expert from Fidler and Pepper Solicitors reminds landlords that the world of the Section 21 Notice has got much more straightforward since the recent legal ruling:

The dates for section 21 notices

Dating a Section 21 Notice caused confusion in the past – the act says that 2 months notice must be given, but at a different section states that the notice period must end on the last day of the tenancy period.

The Housing Act 1988 obviously goes into much more detail but I won’t set this out now – you will either go to sleep or get confused.

This has lead to problems in the past with the wrong date being put on the Notice. The rulings from the Court have been very strict and if the tenant hasn’t been given two months notice and that notice doesn’t expire on the last day of the tenancy period the Court deem the notice invalid and you don’t get your possession order.

However, in November 2013 we saw the Court of Appeal review the application of the Act in the case of Spencer v Taylor.

Their decision has now changed how we prepare the Notices. I thought I would assist by setting out what you need to do in each type of situation:

Dating notices for a fixed term tenancy

You must give 2 months notice in writing. The earliest date is can expire is the last day of the fixed period of the tenancy. If there is less than 2 months to the last day of the tenancy, you must give 2 months notice.

Dating notices for a fixed term tenancy that is now periodic

You must give 2 months notice in writing.

Dating notices for a periodic tenancy

This is for tenancies that were never fixed, the majority of these will be where there is not a written tenancy agreement, although some written tenancy agreements state that the tenancy is a periodic tenancy.

In this case you must give 2 months notice in writing and the notice must expire on the last date of the tenancy period. This is often where the confusion is – what is the last date of the tenancy period?

If there is a written tenancy agreement:- the starting point for the date is the day the tenant moved in, you then need to look at how rent is paid, for example:-

• If the tenant moved in on 1st of the month and rent is paid monthly the last day of the tenancy period would be the last day of the month i.e 1st January – 31st of January.

• If the tenant moved in on Monday 1st and the rent is paid weekly, the last day of the tenancy period is a Sunday.

• If rent is paid 4 weekly you will have to work out 4 weekly blocks from the date that the tenant moved in, and the date for your notice would be the last day in a 4 weekly block.

If there is no written agreement you will have to go on the date that rent is paid and how rent is applied and apply the above guidelines.

Just remember if you are serving the Notice by post you will need to add a couple of extra days on, the Court stated that a letter sent by first class post is deemed served 2 working days after it was posted.

Generally the law is not applied retrospectively, however it would appear that this does apply to Section 21 Notices that have previously been served.

Hopefully this change in the law will make it easier for you to calculate the dates for your Section 21 Notices, however, if you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me at propertyhawk@fidler.co.uk

Rebecca Brough is a Partner at Fidler and Pepper Solicitors and specialises in residential landlord & tenant work.

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