New prescribed forms for section 21 and section 8 of the Housing Act 1988
21 October 2021
The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (which was previously called the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) has published new prescribed forms of notice that take effect from the 1 October 2021.
These new prescribed forms follow the introduction of the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies and Notices) (Amendment and Suspension) (England) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/994) (Amendment and Suspension Regulations) which had the effect of suspending paragraphs 5 to 10(1) of Schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020. This suspension impacts on Flexible, Assured, Assured shorthold, Introductory and Demoted tenancies and the new forms reflect that for these types of tenancy agreement the pre-pandemic notice periods have returned.
The prescribed forms have changed several times during the pandemic but the new prescribed forms (to be used from 1 October 2021) can be found here.
For section 21 notices, the minimum notice period is now two months and for section 8 the notice period will depend on the ground that is being relied upon. Of course, that is not to say that a Landlord cannot choose to give a longer notice period if they wished to do so or if a longer notice period is mandated by the tenancy agreement. Always check what length of notice you are required to provide under your tenancy agreement, such contractual terms remain binding and with all the variation of notice periods during the pandemic it is important to remember what your tenancy agreement allows.
Landlords should of course ensure that for any notices being used after 1 October that they comply with the new prescribed forms.
This is a welcome step towards the pre-pandemic position for landlords. However, a point to note is that new regulations taking effect from the 1 October 2021 also extended the government’s powers to alter notice periods if required up until the 25 March 2022. At that point they may seek to extend their power further. So, the shortening of notice periods can be unwound if deemed necessary by the government.
Also, while notice periods have returned to normal, the backlog that courts are facing is still substantial so it is important that the correct prescribed form is used and court directions followed as quickly as possible to try and avoid any unnecessary delays.
How can Birketts help?
Birketts have a specialist team of Housing Management lawyers to assist our clients with the preparation and service of notices to ensure claims brought by our clients are always started on the right foot.
If you have any queries regarding the content of this article or wish to discuss any issue regarding the management of your tenants or stock, please contact Clive Adams, Jonathan Hulley or any member of the Social Housing Team, to see how Birketts can help you.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at October 2021.