An assured tenancy which is also an assured shorthold tenancy may also be ended by the execution of a possession order based on a section 21 notice. The differences between the section 8 and section 21 procedures are:the section 21 notice may only be used for a shorthold tenancy, the section 8 notice may be used for any assured tenancy
a section 21 notice may be used without the landlord giving any reason, whereas for a section 8 notice to be used the landlord must satisfy one of the statutory grounds for eviction
Section 8 is based on 17 grounds. The landlord can seek to regain possession of the property before the term of the tenancy comes to an end based only on these grounds. When the landlord serves the tenant with the Section 8 notice, they have to state the grounds by which they are seeking possession of the property, using the precise wording specified in the legislation Schedule 2 of 1988 Housing act with wording of grounds for possession and the reasons for relying on these grounds. The notice must be in the prescribed form prescribed form of section 8 notice
Once the Section 8 notice has been filled out, it must be sent to all of the tenants living at the address. It is often recommended that the landlord sends it via first class post and at a post office where proof of postage can be obtained.
It is usually customary to allow a minimum of three working days for the notice to arrive at the address of the tenant. The Section 8 notice expires two weeks or two months after this date, depending on the grounds being cited. It is only once the Section 8 notice has expired, and the issue has not been resolved, that the landlord can apply for a possession order from the court.
Once the Section 8 notice has been served, the landlord can apply to the court for a hearing to get a possession order using the forms N119 and N5 and by paying the court fees.
The landlord is then given a date to attend court, the first hearing, and must attend on this date. If the tenant has not filed a defence or does not attend court to challenge the claim, the court may make a possession order at the first hearing. If the tenant does defend the claim, the court will issue directions at the first hearing and adjourn the claim until a further hearing when the case will be heard in full. If the possession order is granted then it takes effect fourteen days after it has been issued, although in some cases this may be extended to six weeks where it is deemed that the tenant will face serious hardship as a result of the repossession.
When the Section 8 notice is served, the landlord must base the decision to apply for a possession order on one or more of 17 grounds. The court will then decide upon whether to grant a possession order based on these grounds.
The amount of notice that must be given to the tenant differs depending on the grounds. For grounds 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 16, two months’ notice or more must be given. For grounds 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 and 17, two weeks’ notice is required. In the case of ground 14A, proceedings can be started immediately after serving the notice.
Grounds 1 to 8 are mandatory, meaning if the landlord can prove to the court that they apply then the court must grant the possession order. The other grounds are all discretionary.
Used when the landlord wants to live in the property as a permanent home. It is only permitted when the landlord has already lived in it as their main home or they, or their spouse require it to live in as his or her main home.
Evidence of this may be required, together with evidence that the landlord intends to leave their current home.
Used when the property is subject to a mortgage which existed before the start of the tenancy and the lender wants to repossess the property.
Used when the tenancy is for a period of a maximum of eight months and the property was occupied as a holiday let within the period of twelve months prior to the start of the tenancy. Written notice must be given before or at the start of the tenancy that possession might be recovered based on this ground.
Used when the tenancy is for a period of no more than twelve months and the property belongs to an educational institution. Written notice must be given before or at the start of the tenancy that possession might be recovered based on this ground.
Used when the property is being used by a minister of religion and is required for another minister. Written notice must be given before or at the start of the tenancy that possession might be recovered based on this ground.
Used when the landlord wants to reconstruct, demolish or carry out works on part or all of the property which cannot go ahead with the tenant there, perhaps because the tenant will not allow access. If this ground is used, the landlord has to pay reasonable removal costs.
Used when the previous tenant has deceased and the tenancy has passed to a new tenant but the new tenant does not have the right to carry on with the tenancy. Proceedings must be brought within twelve months following the death of the tenant, or within twelve months of the landlord becoming aware of the death of the tenant.
Used when the rent is still in arrears on the date that the Section 8 notice is served and on the date of the hearing. Where rent is due weekly or fortnightly, at least eight weeks' rent must be in arrears. Where rent is due monthly, at least two months’ rent must be in arrears. Where rent is due quarterly, at least a quarter's rent must be in arrears by more than three months. Where rent is due yearly, at least three months' rent must be in arrears by more than three months.
This ground states that alternative accommodation will be available for the tenant in the case that the possession order is made and that the landlord has to pay reasonable removal expenses.
Used when any amount of rent is due on the date that the Section 8 notice is served and is still due on the date that proceedings begin.
Used when the tenant has failed on a regular basis to pay the rent. Rent does not have to be in arrears on the date that the Section 8 notice is served.
Used when there has been a breach of any term of the tenancy agreement.
Used when the property has been neglected by the tenant, sub-tenant or someone living in the property with the tenant who the tenant has not removed and as a result the condition of the property has deteriorated.
Ground 14: anti-social behaviour
Used when the tenant has caused problems with neighbours, visitors or anyone else; has used the property for illegal or immoral purposes and received a conviction for this; or has received a conviction for an indictable offence in or near the property.
Used when the property is occupied by a couple and one member of the couple has left due to violence or threats from the other partner towards the partner who has left or a member of their family who was residing in the property. This ground only applies to property which is owned by a charitable housing trust or registered social landlord.
Used when the furniture in the property has been treated badly by the tenant or by someone residing in the property who the tenant has not removed.
Used when the tenant was employed by the landlord of the property and has now left the landlord’s employment.
The tenant is the person, or one of the persons, to whom the tenancy was granted and the landlord was induced to grant the tenancy by a false statement made knowingly or recklessly by—
(a) the tenant, or
(b) a person acting at the tenant's instigation