Section 8 Eviction Notice
The Grounds for Possession
A Section 8 Notice (also referred to as a Section 8 Notice to Quit; Section 8 Possession Notice; and a Section 8 Eviction Notice), is the initial notice required to start legal eviction proceedings.
It is highly important that your Section 8 Notice is completed accurately, as judges will often air on the side of caution is any part of the notice is not correctly completed, which typically results in the case being thrown out (refused). The landlord will then need to start the process again, correcting any errors made in the Section 8 Notice. Given the current UK court process this could put you back about 8 weeks, the additional 8 weeks of lost rent can be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
This can be very frustrating for landlords, but the services offered by Evictions SouthEast can help you to avoid any unnecessary inconvenience by issuing the Section 8 Notice directly, ensuring it is 100% accurate.
What needs to be include on the Section 8 Notice
The Section 8 notice needs to show that the tenant has breached the conditions of the tenancy agreement, any term or condition of the tenancy agreement that is seen to have been broken constitutes a breach.
The most common type of breach is the non-payment or late payment of rent, however, damage to the property, unsociable conduct, and subletting are also grounds for a possession order.
To make a Section 8 form valid, the landlord must state which grounds the tenant has breached according to Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988. All Section 8 forms require the landlord to specify the grounds they are citing as reason for eviction.
If you are in any doubt over the completing of serving of the Section 8 Notice please get in touch, we can give you a free case review, or take on the task for you, with the peace of mind of our 100% eviction success rate – you know we won’t be wasting your time.
The difference between mandatory and discretionary grounds
When commencing court action it is important to understand which grounds for eviction are mandatory and which are discretionary. Under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988, these fall into 2 main categories and are listed below.
Mandatory Grounds – this covers Grounds 1 to 8 and if one of these grounds is cited on a Section 8 form the court must grant possession to the landlord.
Discretionary Grounds – this covers Grounds 9 to 17 and in these cases the court will only grant possession if it feels it is reasonable to do so.
The landlord requires the property in order to use it as their main residence. This ground can only be used if the landlord used the property as their main residence prior to the tenancy beginning.
The mortgage lender on the property has served notice to foreclose. In this case the mortgage in question has to predate the start of the tenancy.
The property was previously used as a holiday let and is required to return to the status of holiday let. For the exact conditions that apply to this Ground please see the Housing Act 1988.
The property is being let by an educational institution and is now required by students of the educational institution. Written notice that this may happen must be served before the tenancy begins.
The property is owned by a religious body and they require possession for a member of their church i.e. a Minister of Religion.
The landlord wants to demolish and reconstruct, or redevelop all or part of the property. The tenant needs to have refused to live in all or part of the property while work is carried out for this ground to be feasible. If granted the landlord is required to pay all reasonable moving costs to the tenant.
The current tenant is a tenant heir and is not named on the original tenancy agreement. The landlord must serve a Section 8 notice within 12 months of the death of the named tenant.
The tenant has failed to pay more than 8 weeks rent in the case of weekly payments, 2 months in the case of monthly payments or 1 quarter in the case of quarterly payments. Ground 8 is often cited in conjunction with Grounds 10 and 11 so that a partial payment by the tenant just prior to the court hearing doesn’t render the possession order obsolete.
Note: When claiming possession under this ground, it is advisable to cite more than one ground since, if the tenant pays off part of the arrears shortly before the hearing, this ground can no longer be proved and possession proceedings will have to be abandoned. It is, therefore, common practice to cite more than one ground for rent arrears (i.e. grounds 8, 10 & 11), if applicable, and to also wait until at least two months’ rent (or eight weeks in the case of a weekly tenancy) is unpaid before issuing the Section 8 Notice.
Suitable accommodation of the same type and quality has been offered to the tenant and refused. The landlord is required to pay all reasonable removal costs if possession is granted.
The tenant is late with the rental payments but by no more than 8 weeks in the case of weekly payments, 2 months in the case of monthly payments and 1 quarter in the case of quarterly payments.
The tenant is repeatedly late with payments or repeatedly fails to pay their rent until prompted by the landlord.
The tenant has breached any of the terms listed in the tenancy agreement.
The tenant has neglected or damaged the property, or they have sublet the property to another individual who has neglected or damaged the property.
The tenant is considered a nuisance to neighbours or other tenants and has received complaints concerning their conduct.
The furniture listed on the property inventory has been misused, damaged, broken or sold by the tenant or any individual living with them.
The property was let to the tenant as a condition of their employment but the employment has now come to an end.
The property was let on the basis of false information provided by the tenant or one of their referees/ guarantor.
Evicting a tenant to enable the landlord to sell a vacant possession
Selling a vacant possession on the open market is likely to enable the landlord to obtain the best price for the sale, however there is no specific ground for evicting a tenant from a property because the landlord needs or wants to sell the property.
If you need to evict your tenant in order to sell your property please see our separate guide on evicting a tenant to sell a property here.
Notice periods required for the Section 8 Notice
What is important to realise with the notice periods set by law is that these are “minimum periods” and the judge can order the notice period to be longer. This is one of the most frustrating situations a landlord can face especially if they are unable to meet the mortgage payments without a rental income.
The amount of notice a landlord is required to give differs according to the grounds they are citing on the Section 8 form. Ground 2 for example, requires a minimum of 2 months’ notice but grounds 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 only require 2 weeks’ notice.
What happens after the Section 8 Notice has been served?
All Section 8 forms must clearly state the date on which the notice expires. This is the date that the tenant has to have paid their rent arrears by, or have vacated the property by, and in nearly 80% of cases the tenant leaves or pays before this date arrives. If the tenant refuses, the landlord can start court possession proceedings on the day following the date cited on the Section 8 form.
Will a Section 8 guarantee that a possession order will be granted?
In simple terms, NO!... The likelihood of being granted a possession order is dependent on the Grounds cited on the Section 8 form, and as mentioned earlier some grounds are mandatory while others are discretionary.
Grounds 2 and 8 are always granted the order but the circumstances surrounding the other grounds are carefully considered by the court before a decision is made.
If a possession order is granted it normally takes effect within 14 days, but in cases of true hardship on the part of the tenant this can sometime be extended to six weeks.
It is worth remembering that landlords can usually still start the section 8 eviction process to evict tenants even though the deposit was not registered.
Evictions SouthEast has a dedicated team of legal personnel ready to help you with your tenancy problems. We offer a free initial case review to give you some helpful information on how best to proceed with the case and what the likely outcome will be. Should you wish to proceed we will take on your case immediately with our transparent 3 step eviction process all based on a fixed fee pricing structure.
Evictions South East have a 100% success rate to date, and we have unrivalled access to a 48hr court date notification, due to the high volume of cases we process.
Help & news
- Lock smiths service arranged in conjunction with our eviction services
- Starting eviction action against your tenant for non payment of rent
- How to evict a tenant if their deposit was not registered correctly
- How to deal with a tenant who is threatening and agressive
- What is the quickest way to evict a tenant?
- What are the mandatory and discretionary grounds for eviction?
- How to evict a tenant if the landlord has lost the tenancy agreement
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