For any tenancy granted on or after 1 October 2015 (or for all tenancies on or after 1 October 2018) this article only applies to Wales. For all tenancies granted on or after 1 October 2015 in England, a section 21 notice is not allowed to be served for the first 4 months of the original assured shorthold tenancy. Please see this article for full details.

This article is written after members contacted us about an article in the Daily Telegraph property club section, essentially suggesting that serving a section 21 notice to quit “before” the tenancy has commenced is acceptable “…Ms Iqbal also uses a preventative approach to contractual matters, by issuing a Section 21 Notice to Quit in advance of an assured shorthold tenancy commencing… “It is worth its weight in gold to have that in place at the start,” she says. “It saves so much time with the rigmarole of eviction proceedings if there is a problem.””

This suggestion of serving a section 21 notice before commencement of the tenancy should not be followed and I explain the legal reasons for this below.

Turpitt v Elizabeth – August 1998 Legal Action 21, Edmonton County Court

Ms Elizabeth was an assured shorthold tenant. On 28 February 1997, she and her landlord entered into a further assured shorthold tenancy of the same premises for a term of 12 months commencing on 2 March 1997. After she had signed the new agreement, her landlord served her with what purported to be a Housing Act 1988 s21(1)(b) notice indicating that possession was required on the last day of the tenancy. Ms Elizabeth defended subsequent possession proceedings, claiming that the notice was not valid because it had been served before the commencement of the tenancy.

HHJ Tibber held that

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