The Association of Residential Letting Agents and repairs software company Fixflo have released a guidance on timelines to help agents handle the changes to Section 21 that took effect for every new tenancy in England from the start of October.
The timelines highlight the importance of providing an ‘Adequate Response’ to every repair request received if an agency or its landlord client wishes to have certainty that a Section 21 Notice cannot be retrospectively invalidated.
“It’s become apparent through speaking to members that the full scope of the changes has not been fully understood across the industry” says David Cox, ARLA managing director.
“If you provide what the legislation considers to be an adequate response to every repair request then any Section 21 Notice that you serve cannot be invalidated for being retaliatory. While each agency will need to make its own assessment of the legislation as the law remains subject to interpretation by the courts, in the absence of further government guidance we consider that the Fixflo method for handling the need to provide an adequate response constitutes best practice for the lettings industry” says Cox.
Landlord and tenant legal expert Tessa Shepperson says: “I’m a trained lawyer who specialises in this area of law and it took me several hours to fully get to grips with these changes which should, if properly drafted, have been readily understood by non-lawyers. While it’s still open for courts to interpret the legislation as they see fit, providing an adequate response to every repair request and being able to evidence that response is the best way for anyone managing a property to protect their business.”
Due to the new timing restrictions on the service of a Section 21 Notice for affected tenancies the first cases under the new rules will not reach the courts until April 2016.
The new timelines are here.