Q : WHAT is happening with S21 notices again as they seem to keep changing what we need to do and I am getting somewhat confused.

A: You are not wrong in what you have stated and yes changes for England have occurred from October 1, 2018.

Prior to this tenancies taken out from October 2015 needed to be in a prescribed format to include a Form 6A.

From now on all Assured Shorthold Tenancies, irrespective of their start date, as the new form covers both Periodic and fixed term tenancies, need to be in the new format to include Form 6a and the following documents provided in accordance with the Deregulation Act 2015;

• Issue How to rent: the checklist for renting in England guide to all tenants

• Issue a valid up to date Gas Safety Certificate which the tenants need to have seen

• Provide a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate to the tenants, except for example, a listed property

• Provide details of the scheme that the deposit is registered with and finally,

• If the property is also licenced, provide a copy to all tenants (for example properties which may need compulsory licencing in say a student area).

David Cox, Chief Executive, ARLA Propertymark sums it up well with the following advice for agents: “It's important agents are executing effective Section 21 Notices when necessary. There is a legal question over whether the additional documents need to be served on pre-October 2015 tenancies, but it’s very unlikely that a judge would throw out a case on the basis that an agent has provided the tenant with too much information. A test case before the courts is probably required to determine exactly what needs to be served for these tenancies.

“Therefore, we think that the safest course of action for letting agents is to serve all the documentation when serving a Section 21 Notice. The Deregulation Act 2015 makes the will of Parliament clear – these documents should be served – so it’s easier to comply with the spirit of the law rather than rely on a potential legal technicality.

“The changes highlight so clearly that the current system is a mess which must be simplified and improved. We call on the Government to bring forward its promised Call for Evidence on a new Housing Court and work with us to build a system fit for today’s private rented sector.”