To mitigate the risk associated with Section 21, letting agents must be able to evidence that they have taken the appropriate measures to be compliant at the beginning of the tenancy.
Providing the tenant with the correct prescribed information at the start of the tenancy
Agents must ensure that tenants are provided with the property’s Energy Protection Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate within seven days of the property being marketed. Once the tenancy has started, agents must also ensure that tenants are supplied with the most up-to-date version of the “How to rent: the checklist for renting in England” guide, published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. There must be adequate proof that these three documents have been provided, for the Section 21 notice to be legally served.
For a Section 21 notice to be validly served, the tenant’s deposit must first be placed into a government approved deposit protection scheme. These details, along with the accompanying Terms and Conditions, must subsequently be provided to the tenant.
New changes to Section 21 legislation primarily exist to protect tenants against retaliatory eviction.
In the case of a disrepair at a managed property, tenants must put their complaints in writing to the managing agent. The managing agent then has 14 days to provide an Adequate Response stating when they plan to resolve and manage the repair to resolution. If the agent fails to comply with this timeframe, the tenant has the right to take the grievance to the local housing authority, where councils can serve an Improvement Notice.
In this case, failure to follow the prescribed and time-limited repairs process set out can both invalidate a Section 21 Notice and prevent one from being served for a further six months. To ensure that you are able to meet this 14 day period, it is crucial that you have an efficient repairs process in place.
For more information on the Disrepair process in relation to Section 21, download our free infographic published in conjunction with ARLA Propertymark.
To further mitigate the risks associated with Section 21, consider investing in a repairs management software. A repairs management software is able to store all written repair requests in one place, creating a complete audit trail that can be relied upon as evidence that you have acted correctly.