Tenant Eviction and Rent Recovery

Tenant Eviction – What is a Section 8 Notice?

A ‘section 8 notice to quit’, also known as a ‘section 8 possession notice’, is so called because it operates under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. A section 8 notice is different from the more common section 21 notice to quit in that is served on the tenant by a landlord wishing to regain possession of a property during the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). A section 21 notice can only be used for regaining possession at the end of a tenancy agreement.

To follow are some things to think about if you are planning on issuing your tenant with a section 8 notice however should you wish some FREE, no obligation advice on any section 8 notice then contact us on 01843 223223 or by email section8@agentassist.com

A section 8 notice can only be issued to a tenant who has breached the terms laid out in the tenancy agreement and if certain conditions have been met, the most common being one involving rent arrears. The Housing Act 1988 provides 17 grounds on which a landlord may seek possession before the fixed term of tenancy has finished. Bear in mind that any breaches will need to be proven particularly in cases involving anti social behaviour.

As with any notice the landlord cannot evict the tenant without first obtaining an order for possession from a County Court. Before applying to the court for such an order, the landlord must serve a Section 8 notice to quit on the tenant. The notice states that the landlord intends to seek possession of the property and states the ground or grounds on which possession is sought.

The notice must be laid out in a prescribed format and must specify which grounds the landlord intends to use to gain possession and the landlord’s reasons for relying on those particular grounds. Any error made when issuing the section 8 notice is likely to delay the landlord gaining possession or mean that their claim is dismissed in its entirity.

Under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 there are 17 separate grounds on which a landlord can seek possession of a property. Depending on which ground is being relied on will depend on the length of time the notice will have before it expires. The majority of the grounds require the landlord to give the tenant 14 days notice.

The most common reason for issuing a section 8 notice to quit is rent arrears and this is covered in grounds 8, 10 and 11.

Ground 8

Rent is unpaid when the notice seeking possession is served, and at the time of the hearing for a Possession Order:

Rent is paid weekly or fortnightly and at least eight weeks’ rent is owed.

Rent is paid monthly and at least two months’ rent is owed.

Rent is paid quarterly and at least one quarter’s rent is more than three months overdue.

Rent is paid yearly and at least three months’ rent is more than three months overdue.

Ground 10

Rent which is lawfully due to the landlord has not been paid by the time the possession proceedings are started and was owed at the time the Notice seeking possession was served.

If a landlord has been offered money for rent by the tenant but has refused to take it, the tenant will have a defence in the possession proceedings.

Ground 11

The tenant has failed repeatedly to pay rent on time. There don’t have to be rent arrears at the time possession proceedings started.

If the landlord is issuing the section 8 notice on the grounds of rent arrears, if possible he should include ground 8 in the grounds he relies upon, as this is the only ground covering rent arrears that is mandatory. This means that if the landlord can prove that this ground applies, the court will grant a possession order

Nevertheless it is recommended that landlords make use of all the grounds that apply, as they will all help the court in making their decision on whether to grant a possession order.

Other grounds for possession include:

Ground 2

The property is subject to a mortgage which pre-dates the tenancy and the mortgagees are repossessing the property to enforce the charge. Written notice should be given before or at the time the tenancy begins that possession may be required under this ground.

Ground 12

The Tenant has breached any term of the tenancy agreement (other than the ones relating to the payment of rent).

Ground 13

The property has deteriorated due to neglect by the tenant or by someone living with the tenant and the tenant has failed to remove that person.

Ground 14

The tenant or someone living with or visiting the tenant is causing or is likely to cause a nuisance to neighbours or visitors to the area, or has been convicted of using the property for immoral or illegal purposes, or has been convicted of an offence in the local area.

Ground 14A

Note that this ground is only open to registered social landlords or charitable housing trusts and can not be used by private landlords.

The property is occupied by a couple, one of them being a tenant and one of them has left due to violence or threats of violence from the other partner or from a member of that partner’s family who is also living in the property.

Ground 15

Furniture at the property has deteriorated because the tenant or someone living with has neglected the furniture and the tenant has failed to remove that person.

Ground 17

The tenant, one of the tenants, or a person acting on behalf of the tenant has given false information to the landlord which resulted in the landlord granting the tenant the tenancy.

When issuing a section 8 notice to quit on a tenant it is advisable to make use of all grounds that apply. This is because not only are certain grounds considered only at the court’s discretion, but also certain grounds are often hard to substantiate.

Issuing a section 8 notice to quit on a tenant does not guarantee that the court will grant a possession order. It depends largely on which grounds are relied upon as well as the strength of the the landlord’s argument.

If a court is satisfied that a landlord is entitled to possession on one of the grounds, then the court will grant a possession order to take effect within 14 days. It is possible that this will be extended to six weeks if it will cause the tenant to experience exceptional hardship.

Should you wish us to prepare, draft and serve notice on your tenant then call us on 01303 242231 or email us info@agentassist.com