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Section 21 Notice

As a landlord, a section 21 notice is your best bet for repossessing a rented property which is let on a fixed term basis. There are also actions you can take if the tenant refuses to vacate.


The Requirements

Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 provides a means for a landlord to gain automatic repossession of rented properties. The tenancy must be an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) and be for a fixed term. The right to repossess comes simply from the fact the tenancy is for a fixed term, rather than using any other grounds. These are the requirements of the notice:

  • It must be given at least two months’ before the end of the tenancy – but the notice cannot end before the end of the fixed term.

  • It must be in writing.

  • If the notice period is less than two months, the tenancy will not end until two months have passed since the notice period began, even if this date falls after the end of the fixed term.

  • If the tenancy is in its first six months, the notice cannot expire within those six months.

  • If the notice is given after the fixed term is ended, two months’ notice must still be given.

  • -In this case the tenancy will end the day before the rent is due in the fixed term agreement. Depending on how the dates fall, the tenant may end up with longer than two months’ notice.

  • When you send the notice, you need to send with it a “Certification of Service” form or write “served by [your name] on [the date]” on the notice.

  • The tenant must sign the notice.

There is no particular template you need to use as long as the notice meets the statutory requirements. We can draft a section 21 notice for you.

Our Advice


Here are some points to keep in mind when serving a section 21 notice:

  • Giving the notice is not enough – you must wait for a court order authorising repossession and if the tenants will not move out a bailiff will evict the tenant using a valid warrant. A court procedure called the ‘accelerated procedure’ can be used if you struggle to get the tenant out of the property.

  • If you are worried you have calculated the dates wrongly, you can avoid invalidating the notice if you include in it the formula for calculating the notice that is to be given.

  • You should serve the notice by giving it directly to the tenant, putting it through the mailbox in the door, or sending it in the post. Make sure you keep your proof of postage.

  • If you have not protected your tenant’s deposit in a statutory tenancy deposit scheme you cannot use a section 21 notice to evict the tenant.

Our team at Alexander Shaw can look over your tenancy agreement and ensure it is suitable for serving a section 21 notice. We can draft the notice and ensure all of the requirements are met. If the tenants refuse to vacate we can assist you in obtaining an accelerated possession order. We take a practical and efficient approach to ensure you are able to repossess your property as soon as possible.

To talk to us about section 21 notices, please call our Bayswater office on freephone 0800 524 4709 to make an appointment or fill in our contact form. 

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