How to Serve a section 8 Notice?
This page includes the following 7 topics which we are going to cover:
- What is a section 8 notice?
- Which tenancies is a section 8 notice applicable to?
- What are the 17 Grounds under the section 8 notice?
- When NOT to use a Section 8 notice?
- What is the Notice period under COVID-19 for section 8 notice?
- Disrepair and counterclaim
- What notice to serve section 8 or 21 OR maybe both?
What is section 8 Notice?
A section 8 notice is a prescribed notice, you must use the latest version, failure to use the correct version may mean your notice is invalid. A section 8 notice is also known as “Form 3”. A section 8 notice has 6 sections that need to be completed, which are:
- Name of the tenant(s)
- Full postal address of the let property.
- Grounds as per the Housing Act that you are relying on. You must use the exact text from the housing Act, these are already written into The BLA section 8 notice for ease.
- In this section, you need to stipulate which grounds you are relying on, and then you need to write how the particular ground is triggered by the ground pleaded.
Ground 8: No rent has been paid for 2 months, see rent schedule attached. £2,000 Total rent is due.
Ground 10: £2,000 rent arrears are now due.
Ground 11: Tenant has persistently failed to pay rent, and £2,00 rent arrears are due.
Ground 12: The tenant has breached the tenancy by damaging the kitchen door.
5. in section 5, you need to put the date the notice period expires. This part is essential, you must put in the correct period. Due to COVID-19, the notice period is 6 months for rent arrears of less than 6 months.
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant the government takes urgent action with little or no notice. You must check the correct notice period for the ground(s) you are using.
6. You need to sign this section, enter your postal address and must date the notice.
British Landlord Association Members can download a section 8 notice free of charge from our services page.
A section 8 notice is primarily a notice where a tenant has breached the tenancy the section 8 notice has 17 grounds which a landlord may use under section 8. The common grounds used are for rent arrears, damage to the let property or nuisance.
The notice period you need to give to the tenant To Do, or Not to Do something varies depending on which ground is used.
Landlords need to be cautious when pursuing a claim under section 8 if you have had disrepairs. A tenant can make a counterclaim should you issue a claim under section 8.
Which tenancies is a section 8 notice applicable to?
Before you serve a section 8 notice on your tenant, you MUST first consider what tenancy is in place and if you can serve a section 8 notice on that type of tenancy.
One presumes the tenancy between the landlord and the tenant is the correct tenancy. For example – if your tenant is a limited company, then it is not capable of being an assured shorthold tenancy.
The correct tenancy, a limited company, would be a common law tenancy, also referred to as company tenancy.
You cannot serve a section 8 notice when the tenant is a company or a business.
The only tenancies where a section 8 notice can be used is an Assured shorthold tenancy or an “Assured tenancy”.
What are the 17 Grounds under the section 8 notice?
IMPORTANT: below is an explanation of what the grounds from 1 to 17 are in plain English so you can see what grounds may apply to your case.
Ground 1 – This ground can be used where a landlord (or his spouse) has occupied the dwelling as his only or principal home at some time and has given notice of his intention to return, now wishes to do so.
Successors in the title may also use this ground provided they did not purchase the dwelling.
Ground 2 – This ground is used by a lender wishing to gain vacant possession to exercise a power of sale. Notice will need to have been given to the tenant.
The mortgage must have been taken out before the tenancy began and the tenant warned about this contingency within the tenancy agreement.
Ground 3 – This ground applies to premises which within the last 12 months have been used as holiday lets and have currently been let on a fixed term of up to 8 months, usually for the winter period.
The notice must have been served that the property is to be returned to holiday let use, generally for the summer period.
Ground 4 – This ground applies to student accommodation owned by educational institutions. Whilst students usually are licensees; this ground applies where the institution has let for a fixed term of up to 12 months.
Ground 5 – This ground applies to properties owned by religious bodies, where, for example, the property was occupied by one of their ministers and is now required for another.
Ground 6 – This ground is like one established in commercial leases (Landlord and Tenant Act 1954) where recovery of possession is allowed where a landlord wishes to demolished or substantial reconstruct or redevelop the building.
Ground 7 – This ground concerns inherited or succession rights to a tenancy. It allows the landlord to claim possession where proceedings are started within one year of the tenant’s death (or later if the court allows) irrespective of whether rent was accepted or not.
The ground cannot be used against a surviving spouse.
Ground 8 – This ground has been changed by the Housing Act 1996 and concerns arrears of rent. Arrears must exceed 8 weeks if the rent is paid weekly or fortnightly, 2 months if paid monthly, one full quarter if paid quarterly or 3 months if paid yearly.
The maximum arrears in each case must exist both at the notice of proceedings and at the hearing itself. The ground must be clearly stated so that the tenant knows what he is responding to.
Discretionary Grounds for Possession:
Ground 9 – The landlord seeks possession because he has offered the tenant suitable alternative accommodation. The tenancy must be on the same basis, for example, if the old one was furnished, the new one must be, and the landlord can be asked for removal expenses.
If the tenant contests it is often based on what is suitable alternative accommodation.
Ground 10 – This ground covers arrears of rent in arrears less than the times specified in mandatory ground 8. This grounds also, with the consent of the court, allows rent to recover by distress.
Ground 11 – This ground covers persistent delays in rent payment. However, being a discretionary ground, the court will consider factors outside the tenant’s control, for example, delays in housing benefit payments.
Ground 12 – This ground covers the tenant’s in breach of their contractual (lease or tenancy) agreement conditions, other than rent payments.
Ground 13 – This ground covers waste, neglect or default concerning damage to the tenant’s accommodation or common parts. This ground also covers the acts of sub-tenants, lodgers, tenant’s family, or visitors.
Ground 14 – The landlord can seek possession where a tenant, sub-tenant, lodger, or visitor is causing a nuisance to neighbours or is using the property for illegal or immoral purposes. The ground also covers cases of domestic violence where one partner has left and is unlikely to return.
Ground 15 – This ground covers cases where the landlord’s furniture has been ill-treated.
Ground 16 – This ground covers cases where the tenant was an employee of the landlord and has since left his employ. This case is rarely used as most resident employees are licensees and therefore not covered by the housing acts.
Ground 17 – This final ground was introduced by the Housing Act 1996. It covers cases where the tenancy has been created due to a false statement knowingly having been made by the tenant, or someone is acting on his behalf.
It is worth noting the importance of a Tenancy Application and credit and referencing which seeks information from the tenant.
Note: The above explains the grounds only; they are not the exact text from the housing Act that you are legally required to stipulate.
The text below is the exact text under the housing act that you are required to use for the grounds in section 8 notice. Please check to see if the text below is up to date, correct and relevant before using.
Members of The BLA can ring the landlord helpline on 01293 855700.
Ground 8: both at the date of the service of the notice under section 8 of this act relating to the proceedings for possession and at the date of the hearing –
(a) if rent is payable weekly or fortnightly, at least eight weeks rent is unpaid.
(b) if rent is payable monthly, at least two months’ rent is unpaid.
(c) if rent is payable quarterly, at least one quarter’s rent is more than three months in arrears: and
(d) if rent is payable yearly, at least three months’ rent is more than three months in arrears.
And for the purpose of this ground “rent means rent lawfully due from the tenant.
Ground 10: Some rent lawfully due from the tenant –
(a) is unpaid on the date on which the proceedings for possession are begun; and
(b) Except where subsection (1) (b) of section 8 of this act applies, was in arrears at the date of the service of the notice under that section relating to those proceedings.
Ground 11: whether or not any rent is in arrears on the date on which proceedings for possession are begun, the tenant has persistently delayed paying rent which has become lawfully due.
Ground 12: any obligation of the tenancy agreement (other than one related to the payment of rent) has been broken or not performed.
Ground 14: The tenant or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling house-
(a) has been guilty of conduct causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to a person residing, visiting, or otherwise engaging in a lawful activity in the locality, or
(b) Has been convicted of –
(1) Using the dwelling – house or allowing it to be used for immoral or illegal purposes, or
(11) An arrestable offence committed in, or in the locality of, the dwelling-house.
Ground 17: 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.
When NOT to use a Section 8 notice?
- The threat of a Deposit counterclaim
- If you have Disrepairs, then consider if you should serve a section 8 or not?
- If the tenant is on housing benefit, you are unlikely to recover rent arrears or legal fees, if a section 21 route is available, you should consider this route.
What is the Notice period under COVID-19 for a section 8 notice?
As already discussed above, the government has under COVID-19 legislation changed the Notice period for section 8 notice twice just last years, it is likely to change again.
The notice period for anti-social behaviour under ground 14 remains as it was which is; no notice period for gound 14. If the rent arrears are more than 6 months then the waiting period is 4 weeks.
Landlords should seek legal advice and check the notice period that applies to the particular grounds you wish to use at the time of drafting/serving the notice.
Disrepair and counterclaim
Disrepair counterclaims can be a protracted complex and expensive procedure.
You are unlikely to recover your legal fees or rent arrears even if you are successful in your claim against the tenant.
Once you issue a claim under section 8 and the tenant files a counterclaim. Then even if you wanted to discontinue your claim, the counterclaim would still stand on its head.
What notice to serve section 8 or 21 OR maybe both?
Many landlords ask if they should serve a section 8 or 21 notice. If you do not have disrepair, you should serve a section 8 and 21 notice, if possible.
If you issue a possession under section 21, you can also please section 21 within the section 8 possession claim as an alternative ground.
This blog and the video is for educational purposes only. We do not recommend you draft a section 8 notice yourself unless you are confident you know what you are doing.
To get it wrong means your claim may be struct-out and have to serve another notice which could be another 6 months notice period.
You can use Landlord Advice UK who charge £89 including VAT to draft and serve the notice on the tenant by 1st class post & additionally by 1st class recorded delivery.
Why not watch our video on this subject: