New AST Regulations Set to Bite Landlords, Again

The government’s assault on private landlords continues with the implementation of the snappily entitled Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015.

Landlords are prohibited from serving a notice to quit (Section 21 notice) under ASTs starting after 1 October 2015:

  • If the tenant has complained to the landlord in writing about the condition of the dwelling;
  • During the first 4 months of the AST; or
  • If the landlord has failed to provide the tenant with an Energy Performance Certificate, a Gas Safety certificate, and a copy of the government booklet, “How to Rent: checklist for renting in England”.

A new prescribed form of section 21 notice must be used for all ASTs beginning after 1 October 2015, and tenants must be given a minimum of 2 months’ notice.  Any rent paid by the tenant for a period after the section 21 notice expires must be refunded, presumably on the assumption that the tenant actually leaves.

Claims for possession based upon the new section 21 notice must be commenced within six months of the date of the notice; given that the tenant must receive a minimum of 2 months’ notice, that leaves landlords with only four months to commence possession proceedings after a section 21 notice has expired.  Landlords should carefully diarise the relevant dates.

Apart from a sudden increase in the popularity of “How to Rent: checklist for renting in England” , the new regulations are bound to make it more difficult for landlords to recover possession of private rented properties with awkward tenants, particularly those who make themselves compliant with the terms of the AST, before falling back into breach.

With these regulations, and with the recent changes to the tax treatment of income from private residential lettings, the government is clearly signalling its intention to curb the buy-to-let industry.

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Roderick Campbell

Partner, Head of Commercial Property

Roderick has specialised in property law for 30 years. He trained with Hart Brown, qualifying in 1985 and became a Partner in 1990. He specialises...

Partner, Head of Commercial Property

Roderick Campbell

Roderick has specialised in property law for 30 years. He trained with Hart Brown, qualifying in 1985 and became a Partner in 1990.

He specialises in all aspects of non-contentious commercial property work including freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals; residential development work; options; conditional contracts, development agreements and land promotion agreements. He acts for a broad range of clients including property companies, developers, owner/occupiers and SMEs.

Hart Brown is recognised in the Legal 500 for real estate work in the South East and the entry states “Roderick Campbell provides “practical and pragmatic advice” and is a “first class” communicator.”

In 2008 he published a book on “Methods of Securing Development Land Overage”. He also holds an LLM Masters Degree in Advanced Commercial Property Law with distinction.

He is a member of the Law Society Property Group and LawNet Commercial Property Group.

His most memorable case was acting for a landowner on the grant of an Option Agreement concerning an M25 service area which lasted for some 12 years between exchange and completion!