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Property Matters Summer 2021

Published: 27/07/2021 By TFP

Section 8 & section 21 notice changes

Just like buses, you wait for a new section 8 notice and then two come along at the same time! On the 4th May a new prescribed form of section * notice was issued and then on the 12th May another new one was issued to use from 1st June!

Changes for section 21 and section 8 notice periods
The procedures, notices periods and evidence required when serving a section 8 notice were never straight forward. This was, in one sense, simplified under Coronavirus Act 2020 when most notice periods across England and Wales became three months. In July 2020 Wales extended most three months notice to six months notice and at the end of August England did likewise. Some grounds, like anti-social behaviour, domestic violence (and serious rent arrears in England) had the notice period reduced.
As the country slowly moves toward unlocking, new notice periods have been announced for England for the period from 1st June 2020.

Section 21 (Form 6A)
A new prescribed form has been issued. Part of the changes mean a section 21 is now valid for eight months from date of service. A section 21 notice served to a tenant must be a minimum of four months notice, which means the landlord will have four months from the expiry of the notice to apply to court for possession.

Section 8 (Form 3)
A new prescribed form has also been issued to reflect the latest changes for the grounds and notice periods.
Grounds 8, 10 and 11 for rent arrears that are less than four months will now require four months notice and any rent arrears that exceed four months will now be a four-week notice period.
Grounds 1-6, 0-13, 15 and 16 now require four months notice instead of six months.
Ground 7 is a two month notice period whilst ground 7A is one month and 7Band 17 are two weeks.
Ground 14 has always been the notice that must be served to the tenant, but there is no notice period required. This means the landlord can apply to court as soon as the notice is served.

Further changes
From 1st August 2021 there are further amendments to the notice period for rent arrears. Arrears that are less than four months will require a two-month notice period. Any arrears that exceed four months will remain as a four-week notice period.
It is our understanding that if a section 8 or 21 has been served with a longer time frame that you are able to reserve the notice for the shorter notice period, however you would need to make it very clear as to which notice you will be relying on if you choose to apply to court for possession.
If a tenant has applied for a standard "breathing space" then a notice for arrears cannot be served during the60 days of the breathing space.
If they are receiving treatment for mental health crisis, then notice cannot be served as long as they are receiving treatment and for a further 30 days after their treatment has stopped.

Fire Safety Act 2021

on 29th April the act received royal assent and has amended the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety_ Order 2005. Part of this legislation will come into force on 29th June 2021, with the rest coming into England and Wales when Ministers introduce it in England and Wales.

Section 1 - Premises to which the fire safety order applies

This is where a building contains two or more sets of domestic premises. It now explicitly included the building structure and the external walls as well as the common parts. Anything attached to the external walls is also included (like balconies) along with doors and windows.
A building that has two dwellings and may not share any communal areas would now fall under section 1 due to the building having been more than one domestic dwelling. Even though there may be no shared areas this means, from implementation, that this building would need a fire risk assessment. The individual flats in a block remain excluded, apart from the front door being part of the common part risk assessment.

This newsletter is produced by the TFP.