Last October the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force and changed the scope of assured shorthold tenancy agreements (ASTs) and residential possession proceedings. The changes brought in under the legislation apply to all ASTs granted on or after 1st October 2015. We are now beginning to see possession proceedings which will are governed by the provisions of the 2015 Act.
The changes do not apply to fixed term ASTs granted before 1st October 2015. However, from 1st October 2018, the rules will apply to all ASTs.
Under the 2015 Act tenants are protected from ‘retaliatory eviction’. If a tenant has raised a legitimate complaint about the condition of the property and notifies the landlord in writing the landlord is required to deal with the complaint before being able to serve a valid section 21 notice on the tenant.
The 2015 Act removes the need for landlords to specify the last day of a period of the tenancy as the date on which the notice expires and the Act also introduces a prescribed form of section 21 notice.
The Act also brings in various legal obligations which a landlord must comply with. This includes, but is not limited to, having to provide the tenant with a gas safety and energy performance certificate before a valid section 21 notice can be served.
Arguably the new provisions represent a further shift in the balance of power towards tenants and with the previous legislation already fraught with potential pitfalls it is crucial that landlords follow the correct procedure and obtain legal advice at an early stage.
Tolhurst Fisher acts for a number of private landlords and managing agents. If you require any advice or assistance with regard to possession proceedings please do not hesitate to contact one of our dispute resolution solicitors.
Solicitor – Dispute Resolution department.