Understanding Section 21

What is Section 21?

  • Section 21 Notice to Quit (Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988) is the notice a landlord can give to a tenant to regain possession of a property at the end of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).
  • The landlord may issue a Section 21 notice to the tenant without giving any reason for ending the tenancy agreement.

When is Section 21 issued?

  • As part of tenant eviction laws, a Section 21 notice can be issued at any time during the fixed tenancy or during the periodic tenancy.
  • You may be able to gain possession of the property before the end of the agreed term if you can show that certain conditions have been met. This process must be instigated by the issue of a valid Section 8 Notice to Quit.
  • A Section 21 Notice must be given in writing (as required by the amended Housing Act 1996) to a tenant.
  • The Section 21 notice served during the fixed term of the tenancy must give tenants of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) a minimum of 2 months’ notice in writing, stating that possession of the property is required. The notice period begins when the tenant is in receipt of the document.
  • NOTE that possession cannot take place during the fixed term of the tenancy but the notice may be served at any time during the fixed term provided the tenant is given the required minimum of 2 months’ notice. A notice can be issued more than 2 months before the end of a tenancy but, if it was, for example, issued 4 months before, the notice would need to be dated after the last day of the fixed term.
  • If another fixed term is granted after having already issued a Section 21 notice during the initial fixed term of a tenancy to regain possession at the end of the fixed term tenancy – then a new Section 21 notice would be issued to regain possession.
  • A possession order can only be issued by the court if a Section 21 has been served, assuming the tenant has not left the premises by the expiry date on the notice. If the tenant has not vacated within the designated period then you can ask county court bailiffs to evict them.
  • Section 21 notices can also be served during a periodic tenancy but the procedure is slightly different to that of fixed term as it is dependent on whether the tenancy is week to week or month to month, and on which date the rent is paid.

Helpland Ltd provides eviction services to landlords and letting agents throughout England, Scotland and Wales and is able to offer advice on all aspects of eviction including serving notice to tenants using Section 21 and tenant eviction law.

For more information, call our helpline on 0845 450 0536 or Contact Us Here.