When it comes to managing rental properties, it’s crucial to be well-versed in the legal aspects of tenancy agreements and procedures to evict tenants. In most instances, landlords seeking to regain possession of their property rented under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) would typically consider employing the ‘no-fault’ procedure outlined in Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (“the Act”).
However, in cases where this option is unavailable – such as when the tenancy remains within the fixed term with no break provision or when there are other constraints preventing the use of the Section 21 process – landlords can turn to the grounds for possession specified in Schedule. These grounds also apply to Assured Tenancies, which cannot be terminated using Section 21.
In this blog, we provide a summary of the grounds for possession under Schedule 2 of the Act along with the minimum notice periods the landlord must allow the tenant before proceedings for possession will be commenced, following service of a notice seeking possession pursuant to Section 8 of the Act.
A Section 8 eviction notice is a formal legal notice served by a landlord to a tenant in the United Kingdom under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). It is used when a landlord has grounds or reasons to seek possession of the rental property, as outlined in the Housing Act 1988.
Mandatory Grounds for Possession
Under these grounds, the Court must order possession if satisfied that the ground is made out:
Ground 1 – Owner occupation (prior notice ground)
The landlord lived in the property prior to the tenancy and now wants to move back into the property. Under this specific ground for possession, a landlord must provide two months’ notice before initiating proceedings.
Ground 2 – Repossession by lender (prior notice ground)
In cases where the property is subject to a mortgage repossession or charge established prior to the tenancy’s commencement, and the lender holds the legal right to exercise a power of sale. The landlord must provide a two-month notice of proceedings to regain possession.
Ground 3 – Out of season holiday let (prior notice ground)
When dealing with a fixed-term tenancy lasting no more than eight months, and the property was utilised for holiday purposes, at any point in the year preceding the tenancy’s commencement, a notice period of two weeks is mandated.
Ground 4 – Lets to students by educational institutions (prior notice ground)
In situations where a tenancy has a fixed term of no longer than 12 months, and the property was exclusively used for student letting, exempted from assured tenancy status, a notice period of two weeks for proceedings is necessary. This provision ensures that properties primarily designated for student accommodation maintain their specific status and purpose.
Ground 5 – Minister of religion (prior notice ground)
When the property is reserved for the purpose of enabling a minister of religion to carry out their official duties and is subsequently needed for the occupancy of another minister of religion, a two-month notice period for proceedings is required.
Read our blog How to evict a tenant in the UK: the 4 steps of the tenant eviction process for more information.
Ground 6 – Redevelopment
A two-month notice period is required for proceedings when a landlord intends to demolish, reconstruct, or undertake significant renovations on the entire or a substantial portion of the property, making it impractical for the tenant to remain. The landlord must demonstrate that the tenant does not agree to revised tenancy terms granting access or accepting a reduced part of the property, or that the nature of the work precludes such variations.
Ground 7 – Death of assured tenant
A two-month notice period for proceedings is necessary in cases where the tenancy has been transferred through the deceased former tenant’s will or, in cases of intestacy, as determined by applicable inheritance laws.
Ground 7A – Anti-social behaviour
When any of the five conditions pertaining to anti-social behaviour is satisfied, the court is obligated to grant possession with one months’ notice if the landlord has issued a notice seeking possession:
- Condition 1: Conviction of serious offence
- Condition 2: Breach of IPNA
- Condition 3: Breach of a criminal behaviour order
- Condition 4: Closure order
- Condition 5: Noise nuisance
Ground 7B – No right to rent
A 14 days’ notice period for proceedings is necessary when the Home Office has informed the landlord that some, but not all, of the property’s tenants or occupants lack the right to rent due to immigration status issues.
Ground 8 – Serious rent arrears
A two-week notice period for proceedings is mandatory, and the court cannot waive this requirement. Additionally, both at the time of serving the notice and during the hearing, certain conditions must be met:
- eight-weeks’ rent is owed if paying weekly or fortnightly
- two-months’ rent is owed if paying monthly
- three-months’ rent is owed if paying quarterly
- three-months’ rent is owed if paying annually
Read our blog on Section 21 eviction notice: how can you avoid an invalid one for more guidance.
Discretionary Grounds for Possession
Under these grounds, the Court may order possession if satisfied the ground is made out and it considers it reasonable to make an order for possession:
Ground 9 – Suitable alternative accommodation
A two-month notice period for proceedings is necessary. Furthermore, the tenant must either have access to suitable alternative accommodation at the time of the court order’s implementation or assurance that such accommodation will be accessible. In cases where the court confirms the suitability of the alternative housing, it must also assess whether it is reasonable to grant possession.
Ground 10 – Rent arrears
A 14 day period for proceedings is mandatory. This ground necessitates that rent arrears exist both when serving the notice of seeking possession and at the commencement of court proceedings. Importantly, these arrears must belong to the current tenant and cannot be attributed to a previous property owner.
Ground 11 – Persistent delay in rent payments
A two-week notice period for proceedings is necessary. While it’s not mandatory to have outstanding arrears at the commencement of court proceedings, the landlord must provide evidence of a consistent history of delayed rent payments.
Ground 12 – Breach of tenancy obligation
A two-week notice period for proceedings is essential. This ground encompasses violations of any terms within the tenancy agreement, excluding rent-related issues. These terms often include expectations such as refraining from antisocial behaviour or not keeping pets, among others.
Ground 13 – Deterioration in the condition of the property or common parts
A two-week notice period for proceedings is necessary. In this scenario, the tenant, a family member, a lodger, or a subtenant must be responsible for an action or failure to act that resulted in the deterioration of the property or common areas.
Ground 14 – Nuisance, annoyance, illegal or immoral use of the property
When ground 14 is invoked, proceedings can commence immediately upon serving the notice. This ground applies when the tenant, a resident, or a visitor to the property has been engaged in behaviour that causes or is likely to cause nuisance or annoyance to individuals residing in, visiting, engaged in lawful activities in the vicinity, or using the property for criminal activities.
Read our blog on How long does an eviction take – and more useful information including how much it costs.
Ground 14A – Domestic violence
A two-week notice period for proceedings is mandated. This specific ground pertains solely to assured tenancies offered by private registered providers of social housing, previously known as registered social landlords, or charitable housing trusts. It can be invoked when the property was previously occupied by a married couple, a couple in a civil partnership, or a cohabiting couple, regardless of gender.
Ground 14ZA – Offence during a riot
A two-week notice period for proceedings is necessary. This ground applies when the tenant or an adult residing in the property has been convicted of an indictable offence that occurred during, and at the location of, a riot anywhere in the United Kingdom on or after May 13, 2014.
Ground 15 – Deterioration of furniture
A two-week notice period for proceedings is mandated. This ground is akin to ground 13, but it pertains to the deterioration of the landlord’s furniture due to the actions of any person residing in the dwelling-house.
Ground 16 – Employee of landlord
A two-month notice period for proceedings is essential. To meet this ground, the landlord or a prior landlord must have initially let the property as a result of the tenant’s employment, and the tenant’s employment has since ended. Unlike regulated tenancies, the landlord is not obliged to demonstrate a need for the property for a new employee.
Ground 17 – Recovery of possession where grant is induced by false statement
A two-week notice period for proceedings is necessary. This ground can be invoked when the tenant or someone acting on their behalf, intentionally or recklessly, misled the landlord into granting the tenancy through false statements. It’s important to note that this ground is applicable exclusively to the original tenant and cannot be used against any successor or assignee.
This is a basic summary only and the full wording of the grounds (which must be set out in any Section 8 Notice served) including any additional conditions for the grounds to apply, can be found under Schedule 2 of the Act here.
To start a possession claim to obtain a possession order, legal advice is often recommended during this process to ensure all documentation is correct and to navigate any complexities.
How Blue Crystal can help you
Section 8 notice requirements are complex, requiring landlords to adhere meticulously to specific legal procedures and conditions to initiate possession proceedings effectively. With our expertise in navigating the complexities of UK housing laws, you can be confident that your property is in capable hands.
Entrusting Blue Crystal Property Management with your property and Section 8 notices brings peace of mind and efficiency to your landlord experience. From legal compliance to tenant relations and emergency response, Blue Crystal’s professional management ensures your investment is well-protected and maximises your rental income.
Book your 30-minute complimentary property consultation by phone: 020 8994 7327 or email: email@example.com.