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What Is A Section 21 Notice? Everything You Need To Know.

Apr 19 2021 | Landlord and Tenant

by Sophie Campbell-Adams

by Sophie Campbell-Adams

Head of Property Law

In this article

What makes a section 21 invalid?

Section 21 notices must give a tenant two months since the date of being served. Additionally, for a section 21 notice to be valid, it must fulfil several requirements.

If the landlord doesn’t fulfil the following requirements, the notice will be invalid.

  1. The tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST). A tenant who has an excluded tenancy or an assured and regulated tenancy face different eviction rules.
  2. The landlord is protecting the tenant’s deposit in a government-authorised scheme. A tenant must be given prescribed information with a deposit certificate within 30 days after paying their deposit.
  3. The tenant hasn’t recently made complaints about the condition of the property.
  4. An “Improvement Notice” or “Notice of Emergency Remedial Action” hasn’t be made by a local authority within the last six months.
  5. The fixed term has ended. The landlord can serve a section 21 at any time during the tenancy, but the notice date can’t end before the end of the fixed term.
  6. A tenant must’ve received a copy of the gas safety certificate, an Energy Performance Certificate and the Government’s ‘How to Rent’ guide during their tenancy.
  7. The landlord has followed the correct procedure for serving notice.

How do you serve a section 21?

To serve the notice, a landlord will need to ensure they correctly fill out a form 6a before serving it to the tenant. Furthermore, when a landlord serves notice to a tenant, they must prove that the tenant received the notice.

Advised ways of serving notice include:

  • Personal delivery– personal delivery means physically handing the notice to the tenant. In this instance, notice is served on the day it was delivered. This route is often preferable for landlords who seek a speedy eviction.
  • Left at address– a landlord can do this by producing an envelope addressed to the tenant and leaving it at the property, for example, by posting it through the letterbox. In this case, the deemed date of service will be three days after the delivery.
  • Recorded delivery– If the envelope returns undelivered, the landlord won’t have served the notice. However, if the tenant accepts the delivery, the notice is served on the delivery day.
  • Process server– a process server is a professional service that serves legal notices. A process server will produce a proof of service that is fit for the court.
  • First-class post– a landlord can also serve notice by postal delivery. Because the first-class post takes two working days to arrive, the notice period will be two days.
  • Email– a landlord can serve notice through email. The notice is considered served on the day of delivery, as long as the landlord sent the email before 4:30 pm on a working day. If a landlord sends the notice after 4:30 pm, the notice will be considered served on the next working day.

When serving a section 21 notice, a landlord must ensure they have proof that they served the notice. This proof is important in a situation where the eviction is contested.

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