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Section 8 notices: How do they work and what are the grounds?

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Section 8 notices: How do they work and what are the grounds?

With Section 21 evictions set to be abolished in the near future, Olivia Parkinson, Dispute Resolution Lawyer, takes a look at the alternative: Section 8 evictions.

She outlines what they are, how they work and the grounds that landlords need to rely on.

What is a Section 8 eviction?

A Section 8 notice is used by landlords to evict a tenant and repossess their property.

It can be used whether or not the fixed term of the tenancy agreement has expired but requires certain grounds to be met and the landlord to give a ‘concrete and evidenced reason’ for eviction.

In this way, Section 8 evictions differ from Section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions which do not require a reason for repossession.

These no-fault evictions are set to be scrapped as part of the Renters’ (Reform) Bill, leaving Section 8 as the only option for landlords wishing to evict.

Currently, Section 8 notices are commonly served where the tenant is in rent arrears (of various circumstances) or has demonstrated anti-social behaviour at the property. A full list of current grounds are provided below.

What are the grounds for a Section 8 notice?

Section 8 evictions, in current law, have two types grounds, mandatory grounds, where the Court must grant Possession, and discretionary grounds where the Court may grant possession which can be seen in the Housing Act 1988, Schedule 2.

This Schedule provides 17 grounds in total which a landlord could use in support of their case.

The most common grounds which are relied on by landlords are rent arrears over 2 months’ up until the date of a possession hearing (mandatory), any rent arrears at all (discretionary), persistent rent arrears (discretionary), and anti-social behaviour (discretionary).

The full list of current Grounds are:

Mandatory Grounds

  • Ground 1: The Landlord requires possession as he used to occupy the property as his main home, or he now wishes to occupy the property as his main home.
  • Ground 2: The property is subject to a mortgage and the mortgagee is now entitled to exercise a power of sale.
  • Ground 3: The tenancy is a fixed term of not more than 8 months and the property was previously a holiday let.
  • Ground 4: The tenancy is a fixed term of not more than 12 months and the property is student accommodation let out of term.
  • Ground 5: The property is that of a minister of religion.
  • Ground 6: The property requires redevelopment.
  • Ground 7: The tenant has died.
  • Ground 8: The tenant is in rental arrears.

Discretionary grounds

  • Ground 9: Suitable alternative accommodation is available for the tenant upon possession.
  • Ground 10: The tenant is in arrears of rent.
  • Ground 11: The tenant has persistently delayed paying rent, whether or not the rent is currently in arrears.
  • Ground 12: Any obligation of the tenancy has been broken, other than payment of rent.
  • Ground 13: Due to the tenant’s conduct, the property has deteriorated.
  • Ground 14: The tenant is causing a nuisance or annoyance to people residing at the property or visiting the property. The tenant is convicted in engaging in illegal or using the property for immoral purposes.
  • Ground 15: The tenant has allowed the landlords’ furniture to deteriorate due to ill-treatment.
  • Ground 16: The tenant occupies the property due to his former employment by the landlord.
  • Ground 17: The Landlord granted the tenancy as a result of a statement made by the tenant which is later found to be false.

How does the Renters’ (Reform) Bill affect Section 8 evictions?

As part of the Renters’ (Reform) Bill, landlords will be given more power to deal with willful rent arrears, and stronger grounds will be introduced for repeat offenders. Which overall, would assist a fairer private rented market.

A new mandatory ground will be added which provides for repeated serious arrears, at least two months’ rent arrears for three times within the previous three years, regardless of the arrears balance at hearing.

In addition, a further ground will be added for landlords who wish to sell their property or allow landlords and their family members to move into a rental property, as explained above.

For more details on the Renters’ (Reform) Bill, read our dedicated article here.

How long does a Section 8 eviction take?

Time frames will vary on a case by case basis, in addition to the Court capacity, however you can expect to evict your tenant in 2 to 3 months if possession proceedings are undefended.

Can I still evict my tenant under Section 21?

Yes, you will still be able to evict your tenant under Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, providing the correct notice period of 2 months is given, up until the Bill comes is passed as law and comes into full force.

However, in some cases where there has already been an allegation made by tenants regarding disrepair and dilapidations, a landlord may be statute -barred from making a valid Section 21 notice. We would advise a landlord seek legal advice prior to serving an eviction notice.

As soon as the Bill does come into force, Section 21 will be abolished, and landlords will be statute barred from undertaking this eviction process.

Related: Do I need to protect my tenant's deposit?

Landlord Advice & Eviction Solicitors

If you have any questions following this article or would like to speak to a specialist lawyer about eviction, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experienced team.

We would be happy to discuss Section 8 and the Renters’ Reform Bill with you and outline your options.

You can call us on 01202 499255 or fill out the form at the top of this page, for a free initial chat.

The content of this article, blog or video is not intended as specific legal advice. For tailored assistance, please contact a member of our team.