Q. Our tenants six months fixed term ended a few months back and has continued as a periodic tenancy. We wish to recover possession of the property and so we served a two months' notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988. The tenants have come back to us and told us that the notice is invalid as it was not served on a rent day. Are they right?
A. For some reason this seems to be a common misapprehension. A section 21 notice does not have to be served on any particular day in the month. The important thing is - have the tenants been given enough notice?
In the past notices served during a periodic tenancy needed to give a date which was the last day of a period of the tenancy and often people interpreted this as being the rent day. This was under section 21(4). However, in the case of Spencer v. Taylor in 2014, the Court of Appeal held that it was not actually necessary for a landlord to serve a section 21(4) notice during a periodic tenancy, a landlord could serve the less complex section 21(1) provided the tenants periodic tenancy had followed an earlier fixed term.
You say that your tenants originally had a fixed term so Spencer v. Taylor will apply to you. Therefore there is no requirement on you to serve the notice on any particular day or put the last day of a period of the tenancy in your notice. So long as the notice period given to the tenants is at least two months (and provided all the other section 21 requirements are complied with) you should be all right.
Q. I am very worried about the new Right to Rent rules that have come in. We allowed a tenant into occupation without doing a right to rent check and although we are pretty sure he is a British citizen we do not have any proof of that. Are we at risk of prosecution?