No s.21 notice can be served within the first 4 months of the shorthold tenancy, thus ending the all too widespread practice of serving a s.21 at the time the tenancy agreement is signed (though I’d still say that was probably caught by the deposit rules). The proposals also make clear that possession proceedings cannot be begun before 6 months from the start of the tenancy (that disposes of an idea some bright spark landlords had, that it was OK to start proceedings before 6 months so long as the possession order was made after the 6 month date).
The codification of Spencer v Taylor in removing the need for a s.21 notice to specify the exact date of the end of a period of the tenancy (not, as the DCLG notes wrongly have it ‘the exact date a tenancy comes to an end’).
A prescribed form of s.21 notice which must be used, with an information pack for the tenants.
A ban on serving a s.21 notice when the landlord is in breach of ‘a prescribed requirement’. The ‘requirements’:
“that may be prescribed are requirements imposed on landlords by any enactment and which relate to-
(a) the condition of dwelling-houses or their common parts,
(b) the health and safety of occupiers of dwelling-houses, or
(c) the energy performance of dwelling-houses.”
Secondary legislation would deal with this and it is likely to included gas safety certificates and providing EPCs. Meeting the requirements belatedly would enable a s.21 to be served.
There would also be a requirement to provide prescribed information to the tenant (this to be set out in secondary legislation).
Rent repayment. Where a s.21 notice ‘ends’ a tenancy other than at the end of a period of the tenancy, and rent for that period has been paid in advance, and the tenant leaves before the end of the period, the landlord must pay the rent back to the tenant, pro rata for each full day unoccupied.
All of this will only apply to new tenancies granted on or after the date of commencement. After three years from commencement, it will apply to all ASTs.