News

New guidance on retaliatory eviction rules from Fixflo and ARLA

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) and repairs software specialist Fixflo have today released a set of timelines that will help landlords and letting agents understand the new rules around retaliatory eviction.

Under changes to Section 21 Notice of Seeking Possession that took effect for every new tenancy in England that began on or after 1 October 2015, landlords can no longer serve a Section 21 notice within 6 months of a relevant notice being served by the local council.

In certain circumstances, a Section 21 Notice can also be retrospectively invalidated if the council serves a notice and the landlord had not previously provided an adequate response to the tenant within 14 days.

The timelines highlight the importance of providing an “Adequate Response” to each and every repair request received if a letting agent or landlord wishes to have certainty that a Section 21 Notice cannot be retrospectively invalidated.

David Cox, Managing Director of ARLA, commented that:

It has become apparent through speaking to our members that the full scope of the changes has not been fully understood across the industry.  Put simply, if you provide what the legislation considers to be an adequate response to every repair request then any Section 21 Notice that you serve cannot be invalidated for being retaliatory. 

"While each agency will need to make its own assessment of the legislation as the law remains subject to interpretation by the courts, in the absence of further Government guidance we consider that the Fixflo method for handling the need to provide an adequate response constitutes best practice for the lettings industry.

Landlord and tenant legal expert Tessa Shepperson added:

I’m a trained lawyer who specialises in this area of law and it took me several hours to fully get to grips with these changes which should, if properly drafted, have been readily understood by non-lawyers. 

While it’s still open for the Courts to interpret the legislation as they see fit, providing an adequate response to every repair request and being able to evidence that response is the best way for anyone managing a property, whether landlord or agent, to protect their business.

Due to the new timing restrictions on the service of a Section 21 Notice for affected tenancies the first cases under the new rules will not reach the Courts until April 2016. 

To download and print a copy of the timelines please visit: www.fixflo.com/Section-21, or you can download a copy at the bottom of this page.

Further information about Section 21 Notice of seeking possession is also available on our website here.

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