Repossessing property-section 8 notices

If you are a landlord and want to get possession of your property because the tenant has not paid rent, has damaged the property without repairing it, or does not have the right to rent as a result of their immigration status, you must serve this notice before making an application to the Court.

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What is a section 8 notice?

This is a notice from a landlord to a tenant informing the tenant that the landlord wants possession of the property and will be applying to the Court for an Order for Possession.

The notice must be served during the fixed term of the assured shorthold tenancy. The notice must be served by the means outlined in the tenancy agreement (ie served in person, through the property letter box or by mail).

Why end the tenancy early?

The landlord may want to end the tenancy early if:

  • the tenant has not paid the rent and remains at the property
  • the tenant has caused damage to the property and they haven't repaired it even after they have been notified by the landlord to do so
  • the tenant is not allowed to live in the UK

A section 8 notice must be served on the tenant before you can obtain a Possession Order from Court to bring the tenancy to an end.

Can I end the tenancy for any reason?

You can only end the tenancy for one or more of the reasons listed in the Housing Act 1988.

There are 17 grounds in total but most landlords want to end the tenancy because the tenant has stopped paying rent and is still at the property or because they have damaged the property without repairing it.

The grounds for possession

For non-payment of rent the grounds to rely upon are Grounds 8, 10 and 11.

Ground 8

Ground 8 is a mandatory ground and the Court must make a possession order in 14 days provided it is satisfied that when the notice is served and at the time of the hearing there are:

  • at least eight weeks of arrears, where rent is payable weekly or every two weeks
  • at least two months of arrears, where rent is payable monthly
  • more than three months in arrears, where rent is payable every three months
  • more than three months in arrears, where rent is payable yearly

Grounds 10 & 11

Other grounds for rent arrears are Grounds 10 and 11 but the court does not have to grant an order. However, these grounds should always be included as a fall back.

  • Ground 10 applies if the rent is unpaid when the section 8 notice is served and has not been paid by the start of the possession proceedings.
  • Ground 11 applies if the tenant has regularly been late at paying the rent whether or not the tenant is actually in arrears.

Ground 13

Ground 13 can be used as a ground for repossession if the tenant has damaged the property. . Under Ground 13 damage to property includes damage to any common areas to which the tenant has access in the building of their property. Also, a tenant will be deemed to have damaged the property where they allow someone living with them, eg a sub-tenant to cause damage.

Ground 7B

Ground 7B can be used as a ground for repossession in England where only some occupants are disqualified due to their immigration status. For further information on evicting tenants and immigration read Ending a tenancy due to immigration status.

What happens next?

Once completed the Section 8 notice must be served on the tenant personally or by post sent with recorded delivery.

Once the tenant receives the notice, the landlord must wait until the date specified in the notice has expired. If the tenant is still in arrears by this point, the landlord may apply to the Court for an Order for possession. This is done by filing Form N5 and Form N119 with the court. If the landlord is seeking possession only on Grounds 8, 10 or 11 they can submit their court application online using the government's Possession Claim Online service.

When the court issues a possession order the tenant must leave the property by the date given in the court order. The possession date is usually 14 days after the date the court makes the order. If the tenant refuses to leave by that date then the landlord must apply to the court for a warrant of possession by completing Form N325 and the court will send a bailiff to evict the tenant.

If you need help with sending your section 8 notice or applying to the court Ask a Lawyer.

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