Can you serve a section 21 at the start of a tenancy

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  • Can you serve a section 21 at the start of a tenancy

    Hi,

    I am having problems removing tenants after the expiry of an AST. I am learning fast and in the process of section 21 etc. what I would like to know is, firstly am I correct in thinking that it seems that any tenant can reside beyond the tenancy agreement and force us LL into posession orders. thats whether you use a letting agent or do it yourself.

    secondly from reading the notes on this website about section21 notices, can a LL issue a section21 notice at the time of the issue of the tenancy agreement and after the deposit is taken as a precaution? So when I find new tenants and provide a new 6 month AST can I also attach a sect 21 to coincide with the last date of the tenancy this way If they do decide to stay I can begin proceedings on the last day of the tenancy agreement?

  • #2
    Basically the answer is yes, but it must be done properly. Search this forum for ‘Sword Of Damocles’ and look for threads with recent posts in them, so that you get the latest opinion.
    I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

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    • #3
      Thanks Mars Meg,

      I read that and it seems that issuing a section 21 at the time the tenancy starts is a good insurance policy. You dont have to use it but its available so my question is why arent all letting agents doing this to protect their landlords and why arent all LLs doing this to protect themselves after all its just a piece of paper downloaded from this web site that has to be filled in correctly. sent with an attchment letter to your new tenants explaining what it is seems like an excellent idea to me.

      Further into that thread, it stated that a tenant has to give one months notice during the fixed term. I understand that to be courtesy only and they can leave on the the last day without informing you.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Mark1564 View Post
        I read that and it seems that issuing a section 21 at the time the tenancy starts is a good insurance policy. You dont have to use it but its available so my question is why arent all letting agents doing this to protect their landlords and why arent all LLs doing this to protect themselves after all its just a piece of paper downloaded from this web site that has to be filled in correctly. sent with an attchment letter to your new tenants explaining what it is seems like an excellent idea to me.
        It could be used to reduce risk in specific cases, e.g. HB tenants, but some may consider it as not a very good welcome for new tenants, under normal circumstances.
        The information in my posts is provided 'as is'. This is not intended to be legal advice. Legal or other professional advice should be sought before acting or relying on this information or any part of it. I will not be held responsible for loss or damage arising from errors in the information or the way in which a person uses the information on this . For more information on your query use the '' link at the top of this page. Agreements, Forms & Notices can be found .

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mark1564 View Post
          Further into that thread, it stated that a tenant has to give one months notice during the fixed term. I understand that to be courtesy only and they can leave on the the last day without informing you.


          My personal opinion is that courtesy should be a two way thing. If I was a tenant presented with an S21 at the earliest opportunity then I would know that this gives the landlord the ability to get me out at very short notice after the end of the fixed term. So with that in mind if I was renting for six months while moving house, something I was recently planning, I would not be particularly keen at say month 5 of the tenancy to inform anyone of my plans, knowing that it would lead to viewing during the last few weeks of a tenancy at a time when I would be planning a move. I would not feel that I owed the landlord any notice if they have already suggested that they want me out. And the phrases like “It’s only for insurance purposes and if you are a good tenant will not apply” given verbally by a LA would not work for me.

          Since the S21 cannot be effective in the first 6 months you should be able to assess the situation with the tenant in the first 3-4 months and if you feel the need then issue the S21 at that point, though some tenants see an S21 as a signal to stop paying rent. But if you are issuing an S21 at that stage I would assume that things have already gone bad.
          I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mark1564 View Post
            I read that and it seems that issuing a section 21 at the time the tenancy starts is a good insurance policy. You dont have to use it but its available so my question is why arent all letting agents doing this to protect their landlords and why arent all LLs doing this to protect themselves
            Firstly, you seem to have an objective of wanting to find tenants for 6 months blocks of time and then get rid of them for some reason. Personally, I want my tenants to stay as long as possible (providing they're good ones, of course) as it maximises my income and minimises my hassle. To that end, I don't issue 'precautionary' S21s at the outset as it's likely to make the tenant uneasy and more likely to want to move on.

            Furthermore, it's for the most part a bit pointless. If I were to decide for whatever reason I did want a tenant to leave after the end of the first 6 months, then I can issue the S21 at any time within the first 4 months and not be disadvantaged at all versus your strategy. That's normally long enough to know you haven't taken on a disastrous tenant; I think it's unlikely that something fundamental will happen between 4 and 6 months to make me regret that decision.

            Finally - in any case where I have needed to end a tenancy, it's been because of breach of the tenancy conditions, ie failure to pay rent, and I have used S8 instead - which I'd have done regardless of whether I had a valid S21 in place (although I issued them too as a back-up), as it's a quicker process.

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            • #7
              plus how can you give them the S21 before the deposit is protected?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Poppy35 View Post
                plus how can you give them the S21 before the deposit is protected?
                Quite.

                And apart from that you cannot give notice until the tenancy has started and it will not start until the tenant goes into occupation. So, handing the tenant a section 21 notice when he signs up will mean the notice is invalid. As has been said, there is no hurry.

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                • #9
                  This thread: When your S.21 might be invalid, discussed this topic in greater detail. There was no satisfactory answer as to whether the law recognises tenancies of part of a day - which may affect the validity of the same day service of a s.21 as an AST.
                  The information in my posts is provided 'as is'. This is not intended to be legal advice. Legal or other professional advice should be sought before acting or relying on this information or any part of it. I will not be held responsible for loss or damage arising from errors in the information or the way in which a person uses the information on this . For more information on your query use the '' link at the top of this page. Agreements, Forms & Notices can be found .

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                  • #10
                    interesting comments. I can see the points raised about scaring off tenants, but a tenant at any time like mine could go seperate ways or loose their job and inform you at the very end of the tenancy fixed term then you can only give them notice from there which would give you 2 months from the end of the fixed term then 3 to 6 weeks to get them out. If you issue a section 21 2 months before the end as a precaution well explained then you would only loose a months rent after the fixed term whilst you try and get them out instead of 3 months.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mark1564 View Post
                      3 to 6 weeks.
                      Optimistic: If you commence your s21 proceedings on the day after the fixed term ends, you will have 4/6 weeks wait for a court decision, minimum 14 days given to tenant to leave, and then possibly 2/4 weeks to arrange court bailiffs.

                      I believe you can commence your proceedings before the end of the fixed term, and as I understand it, the judge can give a possession date at the end of the fixed term - thus leaving only the 'bailiff' time to worry about. To achieve this, I am guessing you would need to start the whole process around month 2/3 of a 6 month term - by when you will have an idea if your tenants are 'decent' and it still has to be better than saying "welcome to your new home - this is your notice to leave".

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                      • #12
                        I've just moved in to a new rental and I was given a S21 I only noticed as I was going through all the paperwork at home I feel its a bit sneaky and when I questioned LA was told it was a precaution and every one of their lettings has them but it still makes me feel like they think bad of me (sorry can't think of a more eloquent way to put it) and although LA and LL say they want a long let it puts me on edge, they never mentioned they would be issuing S21 before paying for all referencing etc.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rebecca.483 View Post
                          1. I feel its a bit sneaky

                          2. and when I questioned LA was told it was a precaution and every one of their lettings has them but it still makes me feel like they think bad of me (sorry can't think of a more eloquent way to put it) and
                          Originally posted by rebecca.483 View Post


                          3. although LA and LL say they want a long let it puts me on edge, they never mentioned they would be issuing S21 before paying for all referencing etc.


                          1. So you don’t consider it to be a ‘courteous’ action? If you look up other threads relating to ‘Sword Of Damocles’ you might see that some people who issue the S21 this way still expect you to ‘courteously’ give notice if you want to leave at the end of the fixed term (which I guess in your case you don’t).


                          2. They would say that wouldn’t they (but not in print)? But did they tell you what they would consider a problem? Did they tell you that if you complain about problems or become a bit of a pain you might be out quicker than expected? My opinion is that it can give them a power of short notice that they really should not have.

                          3. If you find by looking through these threads that the S21 has been invalidly issued, I advise you not to inform them, leave them oblivious to the fact but keep good records yourself.

                          I do hope that both your LL and LA are good people and you are very happy with your tenancy, but it’s hardly a welcoming start is it?
                          I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

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                          • #14
                            I take on board everyones points. I have good tenants. with 6 weeks to go till the end they inform they are splitting up. I say Ok the tenancy ends in 1 month I wont renew it and start the process looking for someone else. I find someone, tell them they can have the house they tell their landlord to re-rent their house. Everything hunky dorey. Now I have one month to go. Mr T is leaving Mrs T has seeked council advise and they have told her to stay put and force me to evict her. Noe I have to give 2 months notice from next rent day this now takes her till 31st May, 14 days for posession 3-6 weeks for baliff. neww tenants now homeless, myself likely to pay two months mortgage whilst she lives there for free. which part of them are good tenants now? why should LL be courteous? surely its about covering our arses. There as far as I can see no other way to protect your investment. Surely all landlords should be sending a section 21 at the 4 month point of a 6 month AST with a letter explaining what it is and why you have done it. otherwise they could turn round on the last day of the fixed term and say I am now unemployed Im staying and I cant pay you rent from then on its 3 months of no rent isny it?

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                            • #15
                              I know you’ve had a bad time, many landlords who post here have similar or worse stories as do many tenants. But, as was said above, you would be no worse off if you issued the S21 3-4 months into the tenancy, and there’s less risk of it being issued with the errors of timing that the very early S21 can create.
                              I also post as Moderator2 when moderating

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