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How to Serve a Section 21 Notice as a Landlord

A Section 21 Notice, otherwise known as a Notice for Possession, is a written document that a property owner needs to provide to reclaim their property from a tenant within an AST (an Assured Shorthold Tenancy) or a Periodic Tenancy.

To understand the difference between a Section 8 or 21 Notice, click here.

1. When can you serve a Section 21 notice?

Section 21 notices can be served within a fixed term as long as the expiration date is on or after the end date of the fixed term.

It’s important to ensure that the Section 21 you’re serving is not served too early (before the tenancy commences) as this will automatically default the Section 21 as invalid.

Section 21 Notice In an Envelope

2. When can't you serve a Section 21?

As previously mentioned, your Section 21 can be served at any point during a tenancy. However, you must check the validity of your Section 21.

Certain faults on the Landlord’s behalf can render Section 21s invalid.

Your Section 21 eviction notice may be invalid if…

Valid Section 21

3. Is my Section 21 eviction notice valid?

What a lot of Landlord’s don’t double check is the validity of their Section 21 and this is ultimately where they go wrong.

If you haven’t provided the right documentation (EPC, How to Rent Guide & Gas Safety Certificate), if you’ve not correctly protected the tenant’s deposit or if you’re not correctly licensed…

You could be serving an invalid Section 21.

Take a look at Shelter UK’s article on what makes a Section 21 invalid.

Tenancy Eviction Section 21 for Landlords

4. What notice period do I need to give?

Bear in mind that when the Section 21 notice expires, this does not automatically hand possession back to you.

In England, you must allow the tenant to have at least 2 months’ notice. The rules are a little different in Wales, too. 

If your tenancy is periodic, then the amount of notice you provide to a tenant needs to be the same as the rental period.

For example, if your tenant pays rent weekly, you’ll need to give them at least a weeks’ notice.

How much notice do I need to give a tenant when serving a Section 21

5. Serving a valid Landlord Section 21 Notice.

First things first, you’ll need to use the forms provided by the Government which can be found below.

Section 21 Free Download

Download Free Section 21 Notice

Grab a copy of the UK Government’s official Section 21 form that you can fill out & serve.

Here's a safe way to serve a Section 21.

Step 1 – Fill out the Section 21 notice and make two copies. 

Keep one for yourself and serve the tenant the other. A cover letter should follow for best practice asking the tenant to confirm receipt of the Section 21 in writing.

Step 2 – Send the Section 21 to each tenant, although they might live at the same address, by Signed For delivery.

Once the letter reaches the tenant, the courier will ask for a signature to confirm receipt. You can later use this to your advantage.

Step 3 – Always keep copies of served notices as well as the cover letters. You should always use recorded delivery and allow at least 3 days for receipt.

Step 4 – Fill out a Certificate of Service, or an N215. (Click here to grab a copy!)

Remember, if you have proof of delivery, you don’t need to submit a N215.

This will inform the court (should you need to) that you have correctly served the notice. It also outlines the details of how it was done. 

Valid Section 21 - Is my Section 21 Valid

6. After serving your tenancy Section 21.

If, by the specified date, the tenant(s) still haven’t left… You can use your N215 or Section 21 Notice to apply for an accelerated possession order.

As a Landlord, you must start a claim within six months of the date where the tenant was provided the Section 21…

The golden rule is to remember that only a court or a tenant can end a tenancy, so you’ll need to get an order for possession from a court.

These are typically enforced by a County Court Bailiff or a High Court enforcement officer.

Have you read the government’s June 2022 whitepaper on the Private Renting Sector? Watch our conversation with iHowz’ Pete Littlewood by clicking here.

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