Following on from my previous article Changes to Section 21 Notice which was implemented by the Deregulation Act. These changes first came into effect on 1st October 2015 but only for tenancies which started or were renewed for new fixed terms after that date. Therefore we have been in a transition period for tenancies which pre-dated 1st October 2015. This transition period came to an end on 1st October 2018 and from that date the changes made by the Act will apply to all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs). However, not all the changes will apply especially to tenancies which pre-dated 1st October 2015.
Section 39 which requires the Landlord to serve the how to rent checklist at the start of the tenancy does not apply to tenancies pre 1st October 2015 according to Section 41. One area that requires clarification is whether pre 1st October 2015 tenancies require the landlord to serve the the tenant with the prescribed requirements of a Energy Performance Certificate and Gas Safety Certificate. This is the provision that has caused landlords the most difficulty since the Deregulation Act came into force. The Deregulation Act states that this provision will apply to any AST in existence at the time from 1st October 2018. However, the 2015 Regulations which specify the prescribed requirements expressly state that they only apply to ASTs granted on or after 1st October 2015 and not to statutory periodic tenancies that came into being on or after 1st October 2015 at the end of an AST granted before that date. It therefore seems that until new regulations are passed to clarify this position, there are no prescribed requirements in existence applicable to old tenancies.
However In a recent appeal from a county court decision, in the case of Caridon Property Ltd v Monty Shooltz, it has been held that the previous gas safety record of a property will need to be served on a new tenant before they commence the tenancy, otherwise any subsequent section 21 notice served against them will be invalid. It remains to be seen whether this case will be appealed further but the decision is likely to have significant ramification on landlords until this matter is decided further or changes are made to the current legislation.
Although changes have been made to assist Landlords in making the section 21 procedure more straightforward, as can be seen it still remains a difficult area to get right in serving a valid section 21 notice. If you are unsure or require further advice on these changes and how they can affect you please contact Anton Bilinski who is able to guide you through these changes and act for you when a landlord or tenant dispute arises.