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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Friday 27 August 2021

Council repossessions in England: new notice form required for secure tenancies


'At War With Your Home Landlord is chapter 67 of my book. You should get to it by around this time next month but only if you read fast and keep off the bottle. Among a multitude of topics, it covers the procedure your social landlord should follow if they want you out. If you rent from a council  one of their own properties then the probability - but by no means the certainty - is that your tenancy is a 'secure tenancy'. The paperwork will make it clear whether or not this is so.

And, if it is a secure tenancy and the council want you out, there is an important change. The prescribed form of notice  - effectively, a notice to quit which is actually called a notice seeking possession - the council must give you and which must run out  before they can start county court possession proceedings in England, has changed. The new form is introduced by the Secure Tenancies (Notices) (Amendment) and Suspension (Coronavirus) (England) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/946) which title you need not learn off by heart and repeat to me before bedtime. It revises the information about the length of the notice period you should currently be given.

The revised notice should be used by the council for any notice which is given on or after 24 August 2021 (and until it is revised again). Since the regulations which changed the form were not made until 19 August 2021 and since some government websites are still referring to the old form of notice, it is very likely that any notice you have had after 23 August 2021 or you may receive in the near future, will be in the wrong from. In that event, it may well be legally ineffective and you might wish to take that point at some stage when communicating with the council or in a defence to the proceedings which may follow. A bit more time which would result from the council having to give you a fresh notice in the correct from, might well be useful to you.