Not for the first time, the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has provided a form of notice that does not correspond with the statutory prescribed form. This time around, it is notices relating to s83 of the Housing Act 1985 which were used by landlords between 1 June and 24 August 2021 to end secure tenancies.
The prescribed form did not take into account changes made in The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021, meaning that the notice periods included were longer than they should have been. In fact, the MHCLG version on the Government website had the correct notice period but it was not in the statutory prescribed form.
The MCHLG’s suggested advice is to check if you used the prescribed form or the incorrect form. If you used the incorrect form, you can re-serve the correct form or simply wait for the extended notice period to expire as you usually would.
For landlords who used the incorrect form the MHCLG suggests doing one of the following:
- request the judge to exercise their discretion to dispense with service of the prescribed notice; or
- ask the judge to make a finding that the incorrect notice has substantially the same effect as the prescribed notice; or
- re-serve with a correct notice and follow the usual procedure.
A new and correct form has been available from 24 August and the MHCLG has notified the courts service of the mistake so hopefully judges will take a pragmatic approach to this issue, but as any lawyer can attest, consistency across the board is expected but not always delivered.
For further information, please contact Clive Adams or another member of the Social Housing Team.