Section 21 flowchart

Updated 16 September 2020 to correct Tenant Fees Act position.

Updated 13 September 2020, to include the various notice periods from before 26 March 2020, from 26 March to 28 August 2020, and from 29 August 2020. Also includes Tenant Fees Act update for effect from 1 June 2020 and a revision on Gas Safety Certificates after Trecarrell v Rouncefield.

NB – for England only

The validity of section 21 notices (or technically, when one can be served) became simultaneously more complicated and less so after the Deregulation Act 2015 took effect, together with changes in deposit regulations. There is a lot to think through and of course it all varies by date of tenancy.

On the basis that a lot of tenants, a lot of landlords and letting agents and quite a few advisors haven’t really got to grips with current requirements for a s.21 notice to be valid, I thought a flow chart could help, assuming it was possible.

It turned out to be sort of possible- ish, as least as far as statutory validity goes.

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The usual disclaimers apply – it should not take the place of proper legal advice, or even be relied upon – guidance only.

There are caveats – lots of caveats.

It doesn’t cover every variation or eventuality (for instance, all the deposit stuff assumes no change in landlord over the course of the tenancy).

The usual rules on service, named tenants etc. aren’t dealt with at all. Nor (for space reasons) does it go into all the complications on the Govt ‘How to rent’ booklet, just noting that it must be the most recent edition when given, and if a new edition was available at the time the current tenancy that version (and that is a tricky one to check but start here.)

The Ravenseft Properties Ltd v Hall [2001] EWCA Civ 2034 precedent on prescribed forms and notices ‘substantially to the same effect’ will probably apply to the post 1 October 2015 prescribed s.21 Notice (Form 6A) but given the necessary detail in the notes, I find it hard to believe that not using the Form 6A would not amount to defective notice, unless a very minor error or difference.

And because I couldn’t fit it in a box, there is no mention of the fact that for any tenancy (after 1 October 2018), it is impossible to serve a s.21 that will expire at the end of a six month fixed term unless it is handed to the tenant in person during the day time on the very next day after the first four months of the tenancy, assuming that isn’t a weekend or bank holiday (otherwise, the usual rules of service mean that the notice must expire a day or two after the end of the six month fixed term at the earliest). (Update 13 September 2020 – that is now completely impossible, as 6 months notice required and can’t be served in first 4 months.)

I hope it continues to be of use to all involved in PRS tenancies in England. Tenants, landlords, agents, advisors, lawyers and (I gather) Judges.