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Tenancy legal requirements

Tenancies starting after 1 October 2015  

On 1 October 2015, certain provisions in the Deregulation Act 2015 came into force, meaning that it’s a legal requirement to follow them. These provisions are designed to protect tenants against unfair eviction where they have raised a legitimate complaint about the condition of their home.

For new tenancies since 1 October 2015, the landlord must provide certain documents to the tenant:

  • gas safety certificate
  • electrical safety report
  • energy performance certificate
  • How to Rent guide.

Gas safety certificate

A gas safety certificate must be provided, showing that the required checks were carried out in the last 12 months. The certificate must be provided within 28 days of the check, but this time limit does not apply to the section 21 provisions.

Energy performance certificate

An energy performance certificate must be provided to a tenant or buyer free of charge. This is a requirement of the section 21 provisions, referring to regulation 6(5) of the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/3118).

How to Rent guide

A How to Rent guide must be provided to tenants, advising them of their rights and responsibilities. It can be supplied in hard copy or email (if this is acceptable to the tenant) and must be the latest version on the GOV.UK website at the time it’s given to the tenant.

If a tenancy is renewed, the landlord must check whether the guide has been updated since it was last given to the tenant. If there’s a new version, the landlord must provide the tenant with a new version. If the tenant still has the latest version, the landlord does not need to provide the booklet again when the lease is renewed.

If the landlord does not provide these 3 documents to the tenant, they are unable to issue a valid section 21 notice for the tenant to leave.

Issuing a section 21 notice

A section 21 (s21) notice is a legal document served by the landlord, or the landlord's agents, to a tenant to notify them of the landlord's intention to repossess the property. It cannot be served within four months of the start of the first tenancy.

The landlord is required to use the Notice seeking possession of a property let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Form 6a for s21 notices. If they do not use this form, the notice is not valid.

Landlords may also use this form for tenancy agreements that started before 1 October 2015 but are not currently legally required to.

If all these requirements have been followed, the s21 notice will be valid.

What happens after the s21 notice has been served

Once the valid notice has been served, court proceedings must commence within 6 months of the date the notice was given. After this time, a new s21 notice will need to be provided, as the original will no longer be valid.

For any tenancy that started before 1 October 2015, a s21 notice can be served at any time during the tenancy, provided all the other conditions are complied with, and the landlord can commence possession proceedings on any date after the notice period has expired.

If you have any questions about an s21 notice that your landlord has given you, call us on 01202 123 147