Updates to assured tenancy forms aimed at returning to a pre-pandemic ‘normal’ were made to the central government website on the 1st, with landlords needing to pay special attention to forms 3 and 6a which relate to section 8 and section 21 evictions respectively.
While there are still doubts around the future of the section 21 eviction (otherwise known as the ‘no fault eviction’), landlords are still able to issue a section 21 notice, and the notice period is once again two months. Section 8 evictions reverted to a two week notice period on the same date.
The new ‘form 3’ is notice to a tenant that a landlord is seeking to retake possession of a property let on an assured tenancy occupancy. The form should be only be used by landlords when possession is sought on one of the grounds in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988 (section 8).
Landlords should not use this form if:
- Your tenant is an assured shorthold tenant and possession is sought on the basis of Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
- Possession is sought on grounds of rent arrears against a tenant who is a debtor whose arrears are subject to ‘breathing space’ (unless a court has granted you permission to do so).
The new ‘form 6a’ is only to be used when possession of accommodation let under an assured shorthold tenancy is sought for ‘no fault’ – under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
Landlords should not use this form if:
- the tenancy is less than 4 months old
- the property is in multiple occupation, or requires a licence under Part 2 of the Housing Act 2004, Section 55
- the tenancy was granted on or after 6 April 2007 and the landlord has not complied with tenant deposit legislation
- the local authority has served an emergency remedial or improvement notice in relation to hazards at the property in the last 6 months
- prohibited payments or a holding deposit were taken from the tenant that have not been repaid.
You can find further guidance on the new forms on the central government website.
What this means for Wirral landlords
The end of the section 21 evictions has been the source of persistent rumour for some time now, but they are still an option for the moment. However, they are seldom the best first action for a landlord looking to retake possession of a property on ‘no fault’ grounds. Instead, the better option is generally a negotiated termination with the tenant, allowing for the contract to end with sufficient notice and without either party feeling poorly treated.
However, for landlords that have taken unsuccessful steps to resolve such a situation amicably, a section 21 eviction is still possible provided the appropriate paperwork is served – and it’s important that steps are taken to ensure that the paperwork is the latest version, or possession may not be permitted.
Some landlords have voiced concerns about a perceived lack of options should section 21 evictions end, but eviction of tenants in breach of contract will still be possible using a section 8 notice. This means that landlords will still have the ability to retake possession of their property from problem tenants, while tenants that abide by contractual terms and pay their rent on time will be granted the security they deserve.
The last two years has emphasised the importance of several conversations that have been happening in the private letting sector for many years. As a result, there has been an increase in the visibility of contract disputes, increases in coverage of problem landlords and a shift in power that some landlords have seen as too far in the tenant’s favour.
However, this just emphasises the need for landlords to properly vet new tenants and the importance of building professional relationships with tenants throughout the contract. While this can be time consuming, a properly managed tenancy generally improves outcomes for all involved.
If you would like a little help managing your property portfolio, or to discuss what your options might be regarding an eviction, you can Contact Us to see what we can do for you.