TENANCY AGREEMENTS AND POSSESSION PROCEEDINGS
From October 2015, the law has changed in relation to possession proceedings for tenants on Assured Shorthold Tenancies.
In order to start possession proceedings, the Landlord has to be able to show that when the Tenancy commenced, they provided the Tenant with:-
- A copy of Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- A copy of the Gas Safety Certificate
- A copy of the Government’s How to Rent Guide
If either the Landlord or their agent has not served these documents, evicting a tenant is impossible unless the tenant is failing to pay the rent then possession proceedings can be made.
In addition, the Possession Notice (known as a Section 21 Notice) will not be valid if:-
- The Landlord is carrying out a “retaliation eviction”
- The Landlord has failed to properly protect any deposit
- The property requires a licence but is unlicensed
Question: I own a property which I rent out in Barrow in Furness. I have been told that there are changes to documents which have to be served on a new tenant, can you advise?
Answer: From 1 October 2015 any new tenancy or an actively renewed Tenancy Agreement will have to show that three documents have been provided to the tenant. The first is an up to date Energy Performance Certificate, the second is an up to date Gas Safety Certificate. The third is a leaflet produced by the Department of Communities and Local Government entitled “How to Rent”.
Not only do these have to be provided to the tenant, but there has to be proof that they have received them, for example, included in a ‘tick list’ which the tenant signs. These documents have to be provided within the first 28 days of the Tenancy Agreement.
If you fail to serve these documents, you will be unable to obtain possession of your property (under what is known as a Section 21 Notice) except in very limited circumstances. A Section 21 Notice requires the property to be returned after the fixed period of tenancy, often six months or any time thereafter. If your tenant is in rent arrears then possession can still be obtained without evidence of these documents being served (although they are still required).
Getting your Tenancy Agreement right from the outset is really important, especially if things go wrong later on. Please do not hesitate to contact me at Livingstons on (01229) 462126 or email me on S.Swarbrick@livingstons.co.uk and I will assist you in providing a Tenancy Agreement and the paperwork required by legislation.