The section also provides that if the tenant is unhappy with your response he can complain to the local authority who may then serve a notice requiring works to be undertaken. If such notice is served then no valid section 21 notice may be served for 6 months from the date of that notice.
All the provisions provide that Section 21 notices cannot be served after the actual complaint either by the tenant or service of the notice by the local authority. This should not affect earlier Section 21 notices or situations where the tenant has complained to the local authority but they have not inspected either by the time of the service of the notice or the court proceedings.
Private landlords have limited protection. If the tenant can be shown as the cause of the poor condition, either from positively damaging the property or omission, there may be protection but the burden of proof is on the landlord. If it can be genuinely shown the property is on the market for sale there is also an exemption.
Good processes regarding complaints handling, and a clear understanding by tenants as to who is responsible for accepting complaints, is now more important than ever in residential lettings property management.
As a reminder, the law also stipulates that at the start of the tenancy, the landlord or letting agent must give the tenant details of where and how the deposit is held and copies of both the EPC and, where applicable, the gas safety certificate and the Government’s eight page booklet “How to Rent: the checklist for renting in England” which is only available electronically and has to be printed at the landlord’s expense to be handed over each time. It is important to keep evidence of the serving of this paperwork.
Details of what must be served are contained in the The Assured Shorthold Tenancy Notices and Prescribed Requirements (England) Regulations 2015 which can be found by clicking here.
Good practice will no doubt dictate that at the time of serving the correct Section 21 notice the rest of the documentation should be re-served so that there can be no question of the tenant having received it.