Section 8 Eviction Notice
Grounds for Eviction
A Section 8 Notice / Section 8 Notice to Quit / Section 8 Possession Notice all refer to the initial notice used to commence legal eviction proceedings. A few landlords try to tackle the eviction process themselves, others prefer to use a reputable eviction service company such as evictions south east.
The main problem most landlords find with a failed eviction attempt is due to inaccurate paperwork. When a judge is faced with a mandatory eviction claim, they tend to air on the side of caution, especially if the paperwork is less than 100% accurate. This can leave many private landlords attempting the court process themselves very frustrated.
If the initial section 8 notice is found to be inaccurate it may become completely invalid and the whole process will have to start again. Given the current UK court process this could put you back about 8 weeks. If the eviction is for non payment of rent, which you have already accumulated a significant amount of rental arrears, the additional 8 weeks of lost rent can be the straw that broke the camels back.
This article looks at all the common put calls of an incorrect Section 8 Notice and how to avoid them.
Some basic facts about serving the Section 8 Notice
- A Section 8 notice to quit, sometimes referred to as a Section 8 possession notice has to be completed and served correctly on the tenant(s) of the rental property, allowing the landlord to seek possession of the rental property from the tenant during the term of the Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST).
- 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 it might be a worth while investment to hire the services of a professional eviction company such as evictions south east.
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.
- Ground 1
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.
- Ground 2
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.
- Ground 3
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.
- Ground 4
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.
- Ground 5
The property is owned by a religious body and they require possession for a member of their church i.e. a Minister of Religion.
- Ground 6
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.
- Ground 7
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.
- Ground 8
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.
- Ground 9
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.
- Ground 10
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.
- Ground 11
The tenant is repeatedly late with payments or repeatedly fails to pay their rent until prompted by the landlord.
- Ground 12
The tenant has breached any of the terms listed in the tenancy agreement.
- Ground 13
The tenant has neglected or damaged the property, or they have sublet the property to another individual who has neglected or damaged the property.
- Ground 14
The tenant is considered a nuisance to neighbours or other tenants and has received complaints concerning their conduct.
- Ground 15
The furniture listed on the property inventory has been misused, damaged, broken or sold by the tenant or any individual living with them.
- Ground 16
The property was let to the tenant as a condition of their employment but the employment has now come to an end.
- Ground 17
The property was let on the basis of false information provided by the tenant or one of their referees/ guarantor.
NOTE: There is no specific ground for evicting a tenant from a property because the landlord needs or wants to sell the property.
See here for evicting a tenant in order to sell a property.
Understanding how the Section 8 Eviction Notice works is vital, as is knowing the process which follows (which is not always straight forward and can vary depending on the ground of eviction listed above)
The most important thing most landlords want to know if how quickly can they can their problem tenant out of their property, this will be especially urgent if the tenant has not been paying rent for a number of weeks or months placing the landlord in acute financial hardship.
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.
Tenant eviction can be a bit of a minefield for the uninitiated landlord and the safest and fastest way to evict a tenant is to use a tenant eviction specialist, like
evictions south east who take care of all the paperwork and appoint trained legal teams to deal with the hassle.
For instant advice please call:
020 8658 1833 (9am - 5.30pm)