Section 8 Notice
Under the DA 2015 the Section 8 notice was updated. As of 1st December 2016 the section 8 notice (England Only) has been updated again as consequences of the Immigration Act (2014 & 2016) which means you must use the new section 8 notice. The provisions apply to private sector landlords and to social landlords.
The provisions under the new Act include a new criminal offence under Section 39 which will apply to landlords and agents who know, or have reasonable cause to know, that the premises are being occupied by persons disqualified from occupying under the residential tenancies as a result of their immigration status. The penalties include up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine. The criminal penalties will apply to all tenancies, no matter when they started.
Section 40 creates a new route for eviction where all occupiers of a property have no right to rent and the appropriate notice is served on the landlord by the Secretary of State. Landlords wanting to use this route will need to use the prescribed form of notice that can be found here.
Section 40 also inserts an implied term into certain types of tenancy (including secure & non-assured/non-secure tenancies) which allows the landlord to terminate the tenancy where premises are occupied by someone with no right to rent. This does not apply to assured tenancies (including assured shorthold tenancies).
Section 41 inserts new mandatory ground (Ground 7B) into the Housing Act 1988 which can be used by landlords where some or all occupiers have no right to rent. As a result, a new prescribed form of Section 8 Notice of Seeking Possession will come into force from 1st December 2016 which has been amended to include reference to the new mandatory Ground 7B. This new notice should be used by landlords seeking to evict tenants no matter what grounds are being relied on and can be found here.
Section 8 notice or Section 21 or ?
If you’re looking to evict your tenant, it will be necessary to serve either a Section 21 or Section 8 notice under the Housing Act 1988.
A Section 21 notice of possession
is served to give ‘notice of possession’ to the tenant. This means you can take back possession of your property at the end of a fixed-term tenancy agreement, or trigger an agreed break clause. Importantly, you don’t have to provide any reason to claim possession when you serve a valid Section 21 notice.
A Section 8 eviction notice
Is served when you have grounds for eviction. For example, the tenant has not paid the rent, damaged the property or is causing a nuisance. In such cases you can terminate the tenancy during its fixed term if the tenant has breached the tenancy agreement. But your tenant may dispute it, and it could go to court where you’ll need to evidence the reason for the eviction.
Even if you have solid grounds for evicting your tenant, it might be more effective to serve a section 21 notice. For example, if the fixed term tenancy is coming to an end or the tenancy agreement includes a break clause which you may be able to trigger to terminate the tenancy.
You can, however, serve both a Section 21 notice and a Section 8 notice at the same time. Issue court proceedings based on section 21 notice or under section 8 notice (fixed date hearing). Under section 8 claim (fixed date hearing – PCOL) you plead section 8 grounds and as an alternative at the same time within the same claim you plead section 21 too. We advice you should seek professional legal advice as the procedure is complex. Landlord Advice UK are experts in this area of law who is a service provider to the BLA members.