If you’re a landlord looking to end a tenancy, there’s every chance that you’ll need to serve your tenant with a Section 21 notice to do so - after all, 24,000 Section 21 notices were correctly served last year alone. But, did you know that even the smallest administration error on a Section 21 notice can void the entire process, leaving you not just stressed and time-pressed but also forced to start the whole eviction process (often at huge additional cost) again?
What is a Section 21 notice and why would I use one?
A Section 21 notice is also known as a ‘no fault possession notice’ because it allows landlords to serve notice and take possession of a property without giving a formal reason. In practice, this means that a tenant doesn’t have to do anything wrong for a landlord to decide to end the tenancy – it may just be that they need possession of the house for another purpose – for example if they want to sell or occupy it themselves.
While putting the Section 21 notice into practice has been a great way to formalise the process and make sure that both landlords and tenants behave fairly and properly when it comes to the termination of a tenancy, in practice it’s been fraught with difficulties – mainly because in order to serve a Section 21 notice correctly, a number of documents have to be issued and actions put into place, usually at the commencement of the tenancy. If any of these processes are missed, the Section 21 notice isn’t valid.
What if I get it wrong?
It’s not just processes that need to be adhered to – when it comes to Section 21 there’s simply no room for error. Even something as tiny as using an incorrect property address or noting down the wrong date for the start of a tenancy (which can be easy to do if you’re dealing with multiple properties across a portfolio) voids the whole process and leaves the landlord back at the beginning.
What are the consequences?
Serving a Section 21 notice incorrectly can be a waste, not just of time, but of money as well. If a notice is rendered invalid, the eviction case could be struck out of court, which would mean a minimum 12-week delay before the eviction could be heard again. In the meantime, the landlord would be forced to pay a £355 loss of court fee and may be asked to pay for the tenant’s legal costs too. A longer-term impact is that the delay could provide the tenants with ground to defend their claim and drag the whole process out still further.
What should you do?
Ending a tenancy can be painful enough without more stress around Section 21 notices. Software like Letflo takes care of all the admin for its users, ensuring that they’re always ahead on compliance issues and that every notice they need to serve is correct and valid.
For more information and a full checklist of what you need to do to serve a Section 21 notice properly, why not download our free Section 21 Checklist?