Understanding Section 8

What is Section 8?

  • A Section 8 Notice of eviction provides the landlord with the authority to serve notice on a tenant who is in breach of their tenancy.

When is Section 8 issued?

  • Unlike under SECTION 21 a Section 8 Notice can be served at any time during the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) and repossession can commence once the notice period has expired.

Why Would I serve a Section 8?

  • There are many reasons for issuing a Section 8 notice with reference to specific grounds within it:

    • Anti-social behaviour
    • Damage to the property
    • Tenant has provided the landlord with false information
    • Rent arrears (see separate article here)
  • Before applying to the court for a possession order, you must serve a Section 8 Notice to Quit on the tenant. This must state that you intend to seek possession of your property and the ground or grounds on which possession is sought. Be aware that any error made at this point is likely to delay you gaining possession.

Although highly effective, a Section 8 Notice to Quit does not guarantee that the court will grant a possession order. This will be dependent largely on which grounds are relied upon, as well as the strength of your argument within eviction law.

What are the 17 Grounds for Possession?

There are 17 Grounds for Possession. Some are for exclusive use of social landlords, holiday lets and employers. With regards to private landlord’s request for eviction, the grounds are as follows, although proof must be given to the court first.

  • Ground 1 If the landlord lived in the property previously and now wishes to return to live there (must have notified the tenant of this before beginning the tenancy)
  • Ground 2 Mortgage wishing to gain vacant possession in order to exercise a power of sale.
  • Ground 3 The tenancy is for a fixed term not exceeding 8 months, and the property was occupied for purpose of holiday.
  • Ground 4 Student letting, the tenancy is for a fixed term not exceeding one year and the property was occupied by a student.
  • Ground 5 The property is held for the purpose of being available for occupation by a minister of religion, and is required for use by a minister
  • Ground 6 Re-development, the Landlord intends to demolish or reconstruct the premises
  • Ground 7 Devolved tenancy, a periodic tenancy which has devolved under the will of the previous tenant and the proceedings for the recovery of possession are begun not later than one year after the previous tenant’s death.
  • Ground 8 Rent arrears of over 2 months or more than 8 weeks if payable weekly (use in conjunction with Ground 10 – some money lawfully due and Ground 11 – rent is persistently paid late)
  • Ground 9 Suitable accommodation will be found for the tenant or will be available when the order for possession takes effect.
  • Ground 10 Money lawfully due
  • Ground 11 Rent is persistently paid late
  • Ground 12 Breach of tenancy, not other specified by other ground
  • Ground 13 Tenant is damaging the property
  • Ground 14 (a & b) If tenant or their guests engage in anti-social behaviour including criminal
  • Ground 15 Damage to furniture in the property
  • Ground 16 The property was used as a home during the tenant’s employment by the landlord and employment has ceased
  • Ground 17 Tenant has given false information on which you granted the tenancy (such as a false reference)
  • Discretionary Grounds A court does not have to agree with the request for eviction if they feel it is unreasonable
  • Multiple Grounds The 2 most powerful grounds to rely upon when serving notice are 5 and 8 which are mandatory, if you are able to prove to a court that one of these apply then the court must issue a possession order.

It should be noted that Grounds 10, 11, 12, 13, 14a, 15 and 17 are discretionary. This means that there are no guarantees that the court will rule in your favour even if proof is provided. The court will assess the facts and make a decision based on what they believe fair and reasonable.

If a court confirms that you are entitled to possession on one of the grounds listed above, then a possession order will be granted, to take effect within 14 days. This could be extended to 6 weeks if the tenant is experiencing significant financial hardship.

To have the best chance of successfully serving a Section 8 notice – resulting in the tenant vacating the property in a timely fashion, seeking expert advice is highly recommended.

Helpland Ltd assists landlords and letting agents throughout England, Scotland and Ireland, and gives professional, valuable advice on many areas of eviction, including serving notice to tenants via Section 8.

For more information, call our helpline on 0845 450 0536 or Contact Us Here.