Are your forms up to date?

There are a variety of forms and notices for landlords to use when tackling various tenancy issues, and there were changes for landlords last week with the government making an update to two private letting forms. These took effect on 6th April 2016, so it’s worth checking that you’re using the right versions!

Changes to Section 8 – Eviction for rent arrears

When trying to evict a tenant, there’s a process to be followed, and we recently offered some pointers on the quickest way to do this.

There are two options for landlords wanting to take possession of a property: a Section 21 Notice, which is the standard route to possession, and a Section 8 Notice, which is used in specific circumstances, most commonly where the tenant has fallen two months or more into arrears.

Last week’s legislation changes the wording of the Section 8 Notice that landlords in England must use. Whilst the changes are minor, it’s very important that you use the new wording for any Section 8 Notices served in England after the effective date. Otherwise, if you have to go on to apply for a Possession Order through the courts, your case could be thrown out by a judge, wasting valuable time and money.

Don’t worry if you’ve already served notice before 6th April 2016, though. Any notices served prior to the effective date, even if they haven’t yet reached court, will still be valid if the original wording was used, so long as they were served correctly.

Changes to Section 13 – Rent increases

As a landlord, it’s wise to review your rents on a regular basis, to make sure your property portfolio is working hard for you and also to check that you’re in line with other properties coming on to the market in the area. If your tenancy agreement doesn’t include a rent review clause, and you don’t want to go through the process of issuing a new agreement, then we suggest using a Section 13 Notice if you want to notify your tenant of a rent increase on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy.

The wording of the Section 13 Notice has also changed with effect from 6th April 2016. Again, the changes are minor, but it’s important to ensure you use the updated form in order to make sure any rent rise cannot be challenged by the tenant at a later date.

So what does this mean for landlords?

In summary, the changes to both forms are extremely minor, and don’t make a material difference to the end result or legal status of issuing the notices. However, it’s very important to make sure you’re using the most up to date versions of these and any other forms. We recommend that if you have previous versions of the forms saved on your systems, you delete these and replace them with the updated versions.

We can offer advice on the correct forms to use for all manner of tenancy issues, so get in touch on 0333 577 9050 for a chat if you need some guidance. We can even manage the process for you.