Section 13 or Section 8? Which piece of housing legislation can you use to serve notice to end a tenancy?
If you’re not sure, this is the article for you.
Here we will be covering the three most important sections of the Housing Act 1988 for private landlords (Section 13, Section 21 and Section 8) and also how things have changed in Wales since the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 came into force.
Looking to Increase the Rent?
|There are four methods by which you can increase the rent:
– Mutual agreement
– Rent Review Clause
– Signing a new tenancy agreement (e.g. renewal)
– Section 13 Notice
Read more about your options here.
– Introduced by the Housing Act 1988, a Section 13 can only be used once the tenancy has turned periodic – i.e. the fixed term has ended.
– You must use Form 4 from the government website to complete your Section 13.
– The rent proposed must be fair and realistic.
– A Section 13 can only be served once every 12 months.
– If your tenancy is a contractual periodic tenancy and it contains a rent review clause, then you will not be able to serve a Section 13.
You can read our full guide to serving a Section 13 here.
|Since the introduction of the Renting Homes (Wales) Act on 1st December 2022, landlords must follow the new procedure for increasing the rent using a Notice of Variation of Rent form.
There are a few things to know about this form:
– It can be used to give notice to contract-holders of a new rent to take effect on a specified date.
– The date entered must not be less than two months from the date that the notice is served, i.e. you must give the contract-holders two months’ notice before increasing the rent.
– You can only use it once the tenancy has turned periodic – i.e. the fixed term has ended.
– You can also only use it to increase the rent once a year.
Looking to End the Tenancy?
|Section 21 is the most common method for a landlord to serve notice to a tenant and end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in England.
– Introduced by the Housing Act 1988, landlords do not need to provide a reason to serve a Section 21.
– Landlords must give tenants 2 months’ notice to leave the property.
– A Section 21 cannot be served within the first four months of the tenancy.
– A Section 21 can be used to end the tenancy on or after the end of the fixed term.
– A Section 21 cannot be used to end the tenancy during the fixed term unless used in conjunction with a break clause.
– A landlord must comply with certain requirements before serving a Section 21.
You can read our full guide to Section 21s including the requirements that landlords must comply with here.
At OpenRent, we also offer an easy notice-serving tool for landlords looking to serve a Section 21. The tool goes through all the requirements for serving a valid notice, so you don’t need to worry about having missed something.
|A no-fault notice still exists in Wales, however, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 has made amendments to the notice period and break clauses.
For fixed term standard occupation contracts that started after 1 December 2022:
– You may include a break clause in a contract if the fixed term is greater than 2 years.
– The break clause must give 6 months’ notice and may not be activated until 18 months into the fixed term.
For periodic standard occupation contracts that started after 1 December 2022:
– You can provide 6 months’ notice to end the contract.
– A no fault notice cannot be issued until 6 months after the move-in date.
For tenancies that began before the Act was introduced on 1st December 2022 and that continued through:
– For fixed term converted occupation contracts, the notice period remains at 2 months and the notice may not expire before the end of the fixed term.
– For periodic converted contracts, the notice period will be 2 months until May 31st 2023. Afterwards, it will be a six month notice.
A landlord will not be able to rely on a no-fault notice if they haven’t complied with certain obligations, e.g. deposit protection rules and registration and licensing with Rent Smart Wales.
Other notices for ending the tenancy
|Breach of Contract
|A Section 8 is different from a Section 21 in that it can be used at any time during the tenancy, but requires you to rely on certain grounds.
– Section 8 of The Housing Act 1988 lays out exactly the grounds which you can use to seek to evict a tenant and regain possession of your property.
– The notice period of a Section 8 will depend on the ground you are relying on to evict the tenant.
You can read more about the grounds under which you can serve a Section 8 notice here.
|There are three other situations to be aware of when serving notice to evict a contract-holder:
– serious rent arrears
– anti-social behaviour
– and ‘any other breach of contract’.
Where the rental period is one month, the Welsh legislation classes ‘serious rent arrears’ as 2 months’ or more worth of rent outstanding. In this situation you can serve a contract-holder with form RHW20 and provide them with 14 days’ notice to leave the property. For the court to issue a possession order on this ground the tenant must be in serious rent arrears on the date the notice was issued and at the date of the possession hearing.
|If the contract-holder has breached the contract in terms of anti-social behaviour, then you are able to serve a notice seeking possession using form RHW23. There is no notice period for this type of notice, however, the court will not make an order for possession unless it considers it reasonable to do so.
If there has been any other breach of contract by the contract-holder e.g., minor rent arrears, you can also serve form RHW23 and provide them with one month’s notice to leave the dwelling. Again, however, the court will not make an order for possession unless it considers it reasonable to do so.
It is worth noting that a contract-holder is able to challenge these notices in the courts if they do not agree with the reasons the landlord has given.
As always we strongly advise you to take independent legal advice before pursuing any of these options.
You can read more about ending a tenancy with a standard occupation contract here.
And you can read the government advice for serving notice under the new rules on the government’s FAQ page.