Section 21: What does it mean and when can I use it?

18 Aug 2014

 

If you are unfortunate enough to be in a position where you need to evict a tenant, there are a number of options open to you. The most common method is to issue a section 21 notice.

What is a Section 21 notice?

Though it goes by the official name of Section 21, it’s more commonly known within the market as a ‘Notice to Quit.’ It was brought in as part of the Housing Act 1988, and effectively acts as a notice which a landlord can provide, to evict a tenant and regain possession of a property.

The advantage of using this method is that you don’t have to give a reason for issuing the notice. However, Section 21 will not grant your immediate repossession. You will still have to provide at least 2 months’ notice in writing to allow your tenant to leave the property.

When can you use Section 21?

This type of notice can only be given at the end of a tenancy agreement – more specifically an Assured Shorthand Tenancy (AST). You cannot use this notice during the fixed term of a tenancy agreement.

What are my other options?

Section 21 is not the only way, however, that a landlord can regain access to a property quickly.

For example, it would be possible for a landlord to regain possession of their property before a tenancy agreement has expired. To do this, they would first have to issue the tenant with a valid Section 8 ‘notice to quit’. Thereafter, they may be granted early repossession if they could demonstrate that certain conditions had been met.

Whether you’ve used Section 8 or 21, you can apply to the courts to speed up the process of eviction. In this scenario, a court will adjudicate based on the papers you submit and can deem that possession can be regained within 14 days. Once again, however, you can only use this method if you have a written tenancy agreement in place, and have given the required notice in writing to the tenant.

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Patrick Taylor

Written by: Patrick Taylor an Endsleigh colleague.