Section 8 Notices
Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988:
Section 8 of the Housing act 1988 provides one of the ways in which a Landlord can obtain possession of his property from the Tenant
before the fixed term of the tenancy has come to an end. This legal route may be used for both Assured and Assured Shorthold tenancies.
The Landlord's claim for possession involves serving notice of his intention to seek possession. This Notice is called a Section 8 Notice.
Section 8 proceedings are normally used in cases where the Tenant has defaulted in some way and the Landlord wishes to end the tenancy and to repossess his property as a consequence of such default.
The requirements of Section 8 include the following:
- The Landlord must serve a Section 8 Notice on the Tenant(s) and begin Section 8 Proceedings within the prescribed time frame;
- The Section 8 Notice must be in the prescribed format; and
- The Section 8 Notice must specify which ground(s) of possession the Landlord is using to obtain possession.
Grounds for Possession:
Section 2 of the Housing Act 1988 provides 17 grounds that the Landlord may use in order to obtain possession of his property from the Tenant. Where there is
more than one ground for possession, all the applicable grounds should be included on the Section 8 Notice.
A brief summary of the 17 grounds of possession follows:
- Ground 1: The Landlord used to live or he intends to live in the property as his principal home.
- Ground 2: The Mortgagee is claiming possession (only in cases where the mortgage predates the tenancy).
- Ground 3: The tenancy is a holiday let and was previously let for a holiday.
- Ground 4: The tenancy is a student let and was previously let by an educational establishment to students.
- Ground 5: The property is held for use by a minister of religion.
- Ground 6: The Landlord intends to redevelop the property.
- Ground 7: The former tenant has died (except where there is a person with a right to succeed).
- Ground 8: The Tenant owed at least 2 months rent (for a monthly tenancy), 8 weeks rent (for a weekly tenancy), 3 months rent (for a quarterly tenancy) or 6 months rent (for a yearly tenancy) at the date of service of the Section 8 Notice and still owes at least this amount of rent on the date of the court hearing.
- Ground 9: Suitable alternative accommodation is available.
- Ground 10: The Tenant was in arrears with his rent at the time of sending Section 8 Notice and at the commencement of court proceedings.
- Ground 11: The Tenant is consistently in arrears with his rent payments, even if he is not in arrears at the commencement of court proceedings.
- Ground 12: The Tenant has breached one or more of terms of the tenancy agreement.
- Ground 13: The Tenant, his sub-tenant or any other person living in the property has caused the condition of the property or any of the common parts to deteriorate.
- Ground 14: The Tenant or someone who is living in or visiting the property has caused or is likely to cause a noise or nuisance to neighbours, alternatively they have used the property or allowed it to be used for immoral or illegal purposes, or they have committed an arrestable offence in or around the property.
- Ground 15: The Tenant, his sub-tenant or any other person living in the property has caused the condition of the furniture to deteriorate.
- Ground 16: The Tenant was granted the property as a result of his employment and is now no longer employed by the Landlord.
- Ground 17: The Landlord was induced to grant the tenancy by a false statement made knowingly or recklessly by either the Tenant or by someone on the Tenant's behalf.
There are certain grounds for possession that are mandatory, which means that where the Landlord can prove that the ground is applicable, the court has no option but to grant possession to the Landlord. The following grounds are mandatory: Grounds 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.
There are other grounds for possession which are discretionary. In these cases the court will only grant possession where it is deemed reasonable in the circumstances. The following grounds are discretionary: Grounds 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
Grounds 1 through to 5 are known as prior notice grounds. This means that the Landlord may only use one of these grounds where he has informed the Tenant in writing and prior to the commencement of the tenancy that he may utilise one of these grounds during the tenancy.
A Section 8 Notice should be drawn up in the prescribed format and served on the Tenant. Where there is more than one Tenant, service on all of the Tenants is necessary. Service may be effected either by post (preferably by registered or recorded delivery) or in person (preferably with an independent witness present).
Once the Notice has been served on the Tenant, the Landlord must wait until the Notice has expired (the expiry date should be provided on the Notice). Should the Tenant not have vacated the property or otherwise rectified any applicable default, the Landlord should apply to court for an order claiming possession.