What is a Section 8 Eviction Notice?
During an assured shorthold tenancy, prior to the end of term of a tenancy agreement, when a landlord needs to regain possession of a property, they can do so by serving a Section 8 notice under the Housing Act 1988.
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The Section 8 notice is a fault-based notice – one where the landlord will give notice for the tenant to leave based on some sort fault or breach of contract or terms of the tenancy, for which possession will be sought.
The notice itself will include all the relevant details of the parties involved and more importantly the reason and grounds for the issuing of the notice. The Section 8 notice provides 8 mandatory and 10 discretionary grounds on which a landlord could make a claim for possession. The Section 8 notice is in short, an eviction notice for landlords to use against their tenants.
When can I serve a section 8 notice?
As mentioned above the landlord will have to provide some grounds upon which to serve a Section 8 notice, which are clearly outlined in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988, separated into mandatory and discretionary categories. Below is a summary of the main grounds that a landlord can use for a Section 8 notice.
Section 8 mandatory grounds:
- The landlord is in need of possession of the property so as to make it their main residence, and on the condition that prior to the start of the tenancy the landlord can prove that the given property was their main residence.
- If the property is under a mortgage a landlord can file a Section 8 notice as an exercise of power of sale.
- When returning the property to the status of a holiday let, when the tenancy has a term no greater than 8 months, having previously been a holiday let.
- The tenancy has a fixed term of no more than 12 months and is, outside of term time, let as student accommodation. This eventuality should however be noted in written form before the beginning of the tenancy.
- The property upon which the tenancy is exercised is owned by a religious body and possession of it is required for the Minister of Religion.
- The property is in need of considerable redevelopment or construction work, which would make it impossible for the tenants to remain residing at the property.
- If the current tenant inherited the property and thus the tenancy tied to it, but was not on the original tenancy agreement, with notice to be served up to 12 months following the original tenant’s death.
- The tenant was convicted of a serious offence or gone against an anti-social behaviour order in the property, against the landlord or a person living in the locality of the property.
- The tenant has failed to pay the equivalent of eight weeks’ rent.
Section 8 discretionary grounds:
- Accommodation of the same type and quality has been offered to the tenant and they refused it.
- The tenant has amassed rent arrears of up to, but no more than eight weeks.
- The tenant has breached any terms set out in the tenancy agreement (besides rent payments as these are a separate ground for section 8).
- The interior condition of the property has worsened due to neglect on behalf of the tenant.
- The tenant has committed behaviour which was of disturbance to neighbouring tenants.
- Any of the furniture included in the inventory has been damaged or sold
- The tenant was granted the tenancy due to false information provided by the either the tenant or one of the referees and guarantors.
Ultimately a landlord can issue a Section 8 notice throughout the duration of the tenancy, so long as there is some sort of legal justification for it. The notice periods for a Section 8 notice vary, and thus it is important for you to stick to the correct notice period, so that your notice for eviction can be legally upheld.
As it stands, where the ground upon which the Section 8 notice is brought forward is fault based, the notice period will be 2 weeks, and where it isn’t fault based the tenant will be given 2 months.
Serving a section 8 notice
Serving a Section 8 notice is relatively straightforward; however, it has to be done correctly if you want it to go through. The notice must be signed and dated by the landlord, as well as include an expiry date, to clearly state the notice period and provide the tenant with time to address the issue.
Oftentimes, tenancy agreements will include clauses in relation to notice periods and the delivery of a notice itself.
For instance, if it is stated that a notice can be served by 1st class post, it is then considered that the notice is served within 2 working days. If, however there are no such agreed clauses within the tenancy agreement, the landlord should personally deliver and hand over the notice to the tenant, after which the Section 8 notice is considered to be served.Upon the expiry of the Section 8 notice, if the tenant has yet to vacate the property, the landlord will be able to receive a possession order from the court to reclaim access to their property.
Unfortunately, the end or expiry of the notice does not indicate the end of the tenancy, and you will need a possession order so that if the tenant still fails to vacate the property, police and bailiffs can get involved to warrant and guarantee that the tenant exits the property in peace.
You may also be aware of the Section 21 notice for evicting your tenant, that does however differ from the Section 8 notice. In Section 21 however there is no fault or grounds upon which notice could be served but could be useful if you are trying to vacate the property.