What is a section 21 notice?
Section 21 notices are eviction notices used by landlords when they want their property back.
There are two types of section 21 notices. One is formatted specifically for notices served before the end of the fixed term and the other for after, which is known as the periodic tenancy.
Under the Housing Act 1998, a landlord has a legal right to repossess their property at the end of an assured shorthold tenancy, which is typically the end date specified in the tenancy agreement. For this to happen, the landlord is required to follow the correct legal procedure, which includes serving a section 21 notice (under section 21 of the Housing Act 1998) to the tenant.
A section 21 notice does not end a tenancy until the court bailiff has executed an order for possession. The important point about serving a section 21 notice is that it allows the landlord to repossess their property as of right which means the tenant is not being evicted, however the landlord wants his/her property back.
Serving a section 21 notice can only be used to regain possession of a property at the end of an assured short hold tenancy; therefore it cannot be used to speed up possession during the fixed terms agreed, unless there is a break clause in the tenancy agreement. If possession is required before the end of the agreed term, then a section 8 notice to quit can be served but only on the basis that the tenant has breached grounds for eviction.
A section 21 notice may be served by post or in person, it is recommended that it be served by both methods to reduce the possibility of the tenant denying receipt of the notice. If you plan on posting the letter yourself, it is important to be accompanied by a reliable witness that is not a relative of yours. If you want to post the notice, it is recommended to send it via recorded delivery and also by ordinary post with proof of posting obtained from the post office. It is also recommended that a minimum of three working days is allowed for the notice to arrive.
A section 21 notice can be served at any time, but the tenant must be given a minimum of two months’ notice in order for the notice to be valid. If a deposit was paid then this must have been protected correctly in accordance with the Housing Act 2004 prior to the section 21 notice being served.