New Section 21 rules cause landlord confusion
New Section 21 rules are causing confusion among letting agents and landlords, says one law expert.
The new rules come into effect from October for tenancies created before October 2015.
Under current rules, landlords issuing a Section 21 eviction notice must provide two months' notice for their tenant who is on an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) or a periodic tenancy that was signed after 1 October 2015.
However, under the 2015 rules, landlords cannot serve a Section 21 notice on their tenant within the first four months of the original AST if this was created after 1 October 2015.
Also, the rules state that a Section 21 notice is valid for six months from the date it is given. After this time, the landlord must issue a new notice and from 1 October, older tenancies will need to follow the new rules.
The six months validity rule are clear to landlords
Now Commercial Trust, a buy to let lender, says the rules on giving two months' notice and waiting for four months before service, including the six months validity rule, are clear to landlords applying to older tenancies that started before 2015.
The lender says it's less clear if other parts of the law will be applied to legacy contracts.
The firm says there's a lack of clarity over Section 21 notice regulations being issued if the tenancy was accompanied by the Government’s 'Hot to Rent' guide and if an up-to-date gas safety certificate and energy performance certificate have been provided.
One firm of solicitors says there are 'grey areas' in the new rules because the obligation to provide the 'How to Rent' guide will not apply to those tenancies that started before 2015.
Solicitor David Smith, of Anthony Gold, said: "Until new regulations are passed to clarify the situation there are no prescribed requirements that exist applicable to older tenancies. It's possible that judges in the County Court will have their own interpretation of the rules and it's an area that requires clarification."
Official figures highlight rents are unchanged
Meanwhile, figures published by the government reveal that rents in the UK grew by 0.9% in the year to August and were unchanged from the year to July.
The figures show that rents grew by 0.9% in England, by 1% in Wales and by 0.5% in Scotland.
Landlords in London saw their rents fall by 0.3% over the same period.
The National Landlords' Association's policy affairs manager, Meera Chindooroy said: "We signalled in February that London landlords were reducing rents which are benefiting tenants, but the increase in rents across neighbouring regions points to demand being pushed from the capital.
"Increasing rents around the country is not unexpected and suggest supply is reducing, but demand remains strong. As landlords leave the market because of rising costs, tenants will bear the burden of this gap between supply and demand."