The recent case of Spencer v Taylor has simplified matters relating to the differing section 21 notices to the benefit of landlords. Previously under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, there were two procedures for recovering possession with two different notices: section 21(1) notices and section 21(4) notices. The section 21(4) notice was commonly served following the expiry of the fixed term. The section 21(4) notice was also more complicated requiring a specific date to be stated which was the last day of a period of the tenancy. In contrast, the section 21(1) notice just had to give not less than 2 months' notice. It was previously thought that a section 21(1) notice could not be relied upon after the expiration of the fixed term.
However, this long held assumption was wrong according to the Court of Appeal. This means that landlords no longer need to worry about the provisions of section 21(4) nor carefully check the date given in the notice. Section 21(1) notices can now be used for periodic tenancies which had been fixed tenancies. It appears that so long as the tenancy was originally granted for a fixed term, just giving two months' notice in writing now suffices.