The Housing Act 1988 sets out much of the law behind today's Private Rented Sector. One section of it, often referred to as Section 8, describes a process by which landlords can evict tenants.
Landlords can issue a Section 8 notice if the tenancy is in a fixed term or the tenancy has become periodic.
However, the landlord will need to prove that at least one pre-determined ground (reason) for serving the notice applies.
What grounds can a landlord use?
In total, there are 17 different grounds that a landlord can use to serve a Section 8 notice. They can be divided into two main categories.
1. Mandatory Grounds
If a court decides that at least one of these grounds applies then the property must be returned to the landlord.
2. Discretionary Grounds
If one of these grounds applies then the court can choose whether or not to grant possession to the landlord. This decision will take into account the full context of the eviction request (including, for example, how serious the tenant's default has been, if breach of contract is the reason for the eviction proceedings).
An overview of the different grounds has been provided below, but this is for guidance only and you should check the original legislation and/or take specialist legal advice before beginning the evictions process.
- Landlord moving back into a property they previously lived in, to use as their principal home
- Property being possessed and sold by mortgagee
- Property was a holiday let and is going to be used as such again
- Student accommodation being repossessed by educational institutions
- Religious institutions’ property being repossessed for use by ministers
- Major works on the property
- Within 12 months of a tenant inheriting the tenancy from a deceased previous tenant
- More than 2 months’ rent arrears
- Suitable alternative accommodation is available
- Minor rent arrears
- Persistently late paying the rent
- Breach of tenancy
- Damage to the property
- Anti-social behaviour
- Damage to furnishings
- Tenant leaves employment of landlord (if tenancy was a consequence of employment)
- Tenancy granted through false statement by tenant
Section 8 Notice Periods
Most Section 8 notice periods will be two months. However, some grounds have a shorter notice period (for example grounds covering rent arrears have a notice period of two weeks).
How to Serve a Section 8 Notice
Section 8 notices should be served using Form 3 from the government website.
Landlords should also note that in order to use some grounds (for example the landlord moving back into a property they previously lived in) they need to have informed tenants that the ground may be relied on at the start of the tenancy. You can read more about that here.
We have a full guide on serving notice to tenants here.