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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.

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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