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New regulations on the wrong day – Form 6A

We have got used to new regulations being laid late on a Friday afternoon, which might explain why I’d missed these, as they were cunningly sneaked out on a Tuesday.

The Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment) and Suspension (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 basically provide for a new prescribed Form 6A for England (for a section 21 notice) to include the 6 month notice period that took effect on, well, Saturday 29 August. The regulations came into effect on 2 September, the Wednesday. So a couple of days worth of confusion and legal grey areas where the notice period was 6 months, but the prescribed form 6A (which must be used) was for 3 months notice. Heaven help anyone who served a section 21 notice on 31 August or 1 September.

Form 3 (for section 8) was amended by The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 I think, at reg 3(11)(a).

Both form 3 and form 6A have been updated on gov.uk. In the case of form 6A, it appears it was updated twice since 28 August, but only once with statutory authority.

It is all going swimmingly well.

Update 8 Sept. So, this is what appears to have happened. The Coronavirus Act (Amendment) regulations made on 28 August, amended Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 so as to provide that Form 6A should be read ‘as if it said six months’ rather than the previous three months. A new form 6A was put up on Saturday 29 Aug with six months notice inserted. I was always rather dubious that this was an effective way of amending a prescribed form, and it appears that the Govt agree, as these present regulations set out a whole new Form 6A.

However, these regulations aren’t time limited, so at whatever point the six months notice for a section 21 notice reverts to two months, or whatever other changed period, there will need to be further regulations and a new prescribed form 6A.

 

 

 

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

19 Comments

  1. David Heal

    How reassuring to know that our lords and masters have once again demonstrated their total competence.

    Reply
  2. Russ

    So where does that leave s.21 notices served on 26th, 27th or 28th August 2020 – are they now valid because the Regulations did not take effect until 2/9? And is that the same for s.8 notices?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      If they were three month s.21 notices, I think they would be valid, as the change to six months notice didn’t happen until 29 August.

      The notice periods for section 8 notices also changed on 29 August.

      Reply
  3. Nazir Abbabil

    What would be the status of notices served just prior to the Coronavirus but the 6 months validity has not yet expired

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      A landlord could issue a possession claim during the stay. If they did not and the validity period expired, they would have to start again. For S.21 notices served between 9 March 2020 (today being 8 September) and 25 March 2020 the validity clock is ticking…

      Reply
      • Marion

        But still no N5B ? Only option standard procedure with N5?

        Reply
        • Giles Peaker

          The accelerated possession procedure is still valid. It is really remarkable that there is still no N5B on the gov.uk site. I don’t see how a claim on the existing N5B could be turned down.

  4. Russ

    Sorry Giles, just on my post above I should have said “posted” on 26,27 or 28th August rather than “served”. Given that notices by post are deemed served 2 working days later would the notice now be okay if these regs did not take effect until 2/9?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Posted on 26 Aug should be OK – Deemed service 28 Aug. Posted on 27 or 28 Aug will probably not be valid, as date of service would be 1 September (after bank holiday), by which point the requirement was for 6 months notice.

      Reply
  5. RP

    Hi Giles.
    Given the old rules were that a notice under s21 can not be served by a landlord until after month 4, is that still the case and in effect LL are now entering into a 10 month tenancy, by default?
    Especially, as the SI to chase to 6 months, make no remarks to the 4 months to have passed.

    Reply
  6. John (not Jon)

    What about the case where someone did not use Form 6A but instead used a letter with substantially all the same info on it (as I believe they are still allowed to do)? To be valid would the letter have to have had the same WRONG info on it prior to 2nd Sept?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      ‘Substantially the same’ is high risk with a prescribed form. It would have to include all the notes and everything. A new form ^A was put up on 29 August -so would have to be the same as that (putting aside for the moment my uncertainties about whether the ‘read as’ approach of the Coronavirus Act actually mandates new forms.)

      Reply
  7. Liam Goodson

    This is all very confusing. If I am to serve notice to start from 1st December 2020 to my tenants, does that mean in section two of the form 6a, I write 1st June 2021? And would I write 1st October 2021 in section 3?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Whatever date at 2 must give 6 months notice from date of service. You don’t put anything at 3.

      Reply
  8. Joy Gayle-Chambers

    Some landlords are amending the old 6A form to include the six months notice, but exclude the other information, which they then include in the letter accompanying the old form 6A. I treat this as invalid. Will the courts take the same view?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      Hard to call, but I suspect information in a separate letter/document would not count as ‘substantially to the same effect’.

      Reply
  9. Libby

    My letting agent has served the pre August 2020 form 6a to my tenants on 30th Nov 2020. The six months is now up and the tenants haven’t vacated. They now claim the section 21 is invalid due to this. The date on section 2 of the form is stated correctly for six months but the blurb in the form is incorrect and there’s no section f on the front cover. We have many emails and communications discussing the section 21, including an email from the tenants stating they won’t be out in time. Will the courts accept the form do you think?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      We can’t advise on individual matters on the site.

      Reply

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