How to calculate Section 21 notice dates

Introduction

As the easiest route for landlords to gain possession of their property, the Section 21 is a key part of the landlord's toolkit. Without it, a landlord is reliant on the tenant giving up the property voluntarily or having to go down the more difficult section 8 route for possession.

The Section 21 notice is the preferred option outside of a fixed term for a number of reasons. The main one is because there are very few defences the tenant can use to stop possession being granted by the courts. This gives it a significant advantage over using a section 8 notice instead where many potential defences are available. Especially because all of the defences are in the landlord's power to control before service of the notice.

The most common causes of failure where a landlord seeks possession using a Section 21 notice are; that the deposit was not protected correctly, and that the notice period given was incorrect. Deposit service and protection is covered here but this guide will focus on how to establish the correct Section 21 date for landlords and give examples of calculating the date.

Both the Welsh and UK government have proposed a consultation on the abolition of section 21, the so called ‘no fault repossession’ route. Instead, landlords will only be able to repossess a property by using the fault based, section 8 notice route.

This is proposed for both England and Wales though as it is only at the consultation stage, no time frame for implementation has been set.

RLA research has shown that the majority of ‘no fault’ repossessions are based on the behaviour of the tenant. Evictions usually occur as a result of rent arrears or anti-social behaviour. Likely because fault based repossessions can take on average half a year to complete.

The RLA takes the view that if section 21 is removed, it should only be done once landlords can reliably and quickly evict tenants who are in serious rent arrears or another breach of their tenancy. Without this certainty landlords may choose to leave the market or only rent to the most financially secure tenants, increasing homelessness as a result.

Over the coming days, the RLA will be asking for your opinions on this, as well as continuing to campaign for the interests of our members.

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