Approximately 70 per cent of eviction notices issued to tenants may be defective, potentially leaving landlords facing considerable delays and extra expense as they seek to regain possession of their property.
There has been a rise in the number of Section 21 and Section 8 notices that prove to be invalid under the Housing Act 1988, according to legal firm Kirwans. This has led to a significant increase in the number of delays for landlords seeking to evict a tenant - sometimes for as long as two months - as well as considerable rental losses, as they are forced to wait for a new eviction notice to be issued.
Carole Charge, technical and compliance director at property specialist Leaders, says: “The Deregulation Act, which came into effect last year, has brought a number of complicated legal changes to the industry in a short period of time.
“As such, many landlords – in particular those who let a property without the support of a knowledgeable letting agent - are finding the notices they are preparing to regain possession of their property are defective. Many are using online forms that are now out of date, inaccurate and will not be recognised in court.
“If a Section 21 notice is found to be invalid, it is likely to result in a delay of at least two months in regaining possession.”
Should a landlord wish to evict a tenant to regain possession of a property, they must follow a strict process. This involves serving notice, issuing a claim for possession in court and requesting a warrant for possession.
The Deregulation Act also stipulates that a Section 21 notice may be invalid if the landlord has not responded in the correct way to any complaints or requests for repairs from their tenants during the tenancy.
Carole adds: “It is vital to follow the process to the letter. While some landlords seek legal support, it is very often after the initial Section 8 or Section 21 notice has been served, by which time it is too late as the notice is defective.
“The best way to ensure no mistakes are made and your interests are fully protected is to work with a professional letting agent with in-house experts who can draw up legally compliant eviction notices and ensure the process is carried out correctly every step of the way.”
For expert advice on letting or renting a property, contact your local Leaders branch.