What is a Section 21 Notice?

Published: 09/08/2018

A Section 21 Notice is an order under the Housing Act 1988. It is basically a notification to your tenants that you want your property back. This can be at the end of a fixed-term agreement or during a break clause built into the contract. 

This order can be issued if your tenants have a shorthold tenancy. This can be a fixed term-tenancy, which is one with a specific end date. Or, it can be a periodic tenancy which is one that goes from week to week or month to month. This type of tenancy doesn’t have a fixed end date. It might have arisen at the end of a fixed term tenancy that hasn’t been renewed.

In order for a Section 21 Notice to be valid you must have given your tenants the following documents when the tenancy started:

  • The How to Rent Guide published by the Ministry of Housing 
  • A Gas Safety Certificate
  • An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • You must not be in breach of the tenancy deposit rules

You must give your tenants two months’ notice to vacate your property, but you don’t have to give them a reason why you want your property back. The notice, when it served must specify the exact date that you want possession. You can’t fix the date for a time that’s earlier than the date the tenancy officially ends.

The following procedures also apply to a Section 21 Notice. At the moment they only apply to tenancies that were agreed after the 1st October 2015. However, on the 1st October this year (2018) that is set to change, and these procedures will apply to all tenancies:

  • A Section 21 Notice is only valid for 6 months from the date the notice was first issued. If possession proceedings don’t go ahead during this time, another notice will need to be issued
  • You can serve a Section 21 Notice anytime during a renewed tenancy (following a fixed term), but you can’t serve a notice during the first four months of a tenancy
  • If you have had a local housing notice served on you because your tenants have complained about the condition of your property, you can’t then serve a Section 21 Notice

Serving the Notice

You can serve the notice in person to the tenant. But, if they won’t answer the door you can put it through the letterbox. You will need someone with you to act as a witness. If it is done before 5pm service will apply the following day. If you don’t want to deliver the notice yourself, you can use the services of a professional notice server.