Legal ruling cuts tenant eviction time to 8 weeks
A Court of Appeal decision, which ruled that two calendar months were required to end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy after the end of a fixed term, could save landlords thousands, according to landlord solicitors Property Reclaim.
Property Reclaim said it was previously believed that to end a tenancy once a fixed term had expired landlords had to use a section 21(4)(a) of the Housing Act 1988 which requires a minimum of two months’ notice ending on the last day of a period of the agreement.
This meant that if the rent was payable on the first day of each month a landlord wanting to give notice on the second day had to give two full months’ notice and the amount of days remaining in the month.
Therefore if the landlord issued notice on 2 January the earliest the notice could require possession would be after 31 March.
The ruling clarified that landlords only had to give two months’ notice meaning the landlord could serve notice on 2 January requiring possession on 2 March, 29 days earlier than under s.21(4)(a).
Paul Walshe, partner at Moore Blatch and head of Property Reclaim, said: “This is great news for agents and landlords as it’s now much easier to serve a s.21 notice.
“Almost all Assured Shorthold Tenancies start with a fixed term so landlords can now rely on the far simpler Section 21(1)(b).
“This requires ‘not less than two months’ notice in writing which can start and end at a convenient time rather than just at the end of a period of the tenancy.”
Walshe said that in addition landlords will not have to worry about calculating exactly when the last day of a period of a tenancy was which could result in them running the risk of their case being struck out if they got it wrong.
The Court also considered whether a notice with an incorrect expiry date and a saving provision (which allowed the tenant to work out the correct date) could be valid.
The court found in favour of the landlord on this point.
The case, Spencer v Taylor  EWCA Civ 1600, was held on 20 November 2013.
Article courtesy of Mortgage Solutions