Last edited 03 Jun 2021

Section 8 notice


[edit] Introduction

A notice under Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 (also known as a Notice to Quit) is part of the procedure landlords in England and Wales must follow to evict tenants when the terms of the contract have been broken. The most common reason for a Section 8 notice is significantly late payment of rent.

There are different eviction procedures in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

[edit] Types of tenancies and conditions of Section 8 notices

[edit] Assured shorthold tenancies

The procedure associated with Section 8 notices applies to assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs). ASTs are the types of residential tenancy agreements used by most private landlords and housing associations. ASTs are typically given for a period of six months but can be for longer. After this initial agreed period, the landlord is able to evict the tenant without a legal reason.

There are two types of ASTs - periodic (those that run weekly or monthly with no fixed end date) or fixed-term (which run for a specified period of time).

[edit] Assured tenancies

Section 8 notices also apply to assured tenancies. An assured tenancy provides tenants with far greater security of tenure in the long-term, as they are able to stay in a property until they choose to leave or the landlord gains possession on one of the grounds listed in the Housing Act 1988. This usually requires waiting until a certain condition has arisen which enables them to seek a possession order, for example, the tenants go into arrears on the rent.

[edit] Less common tenancies

Under less common types of tenancies, Section 8 notices do not apply, since conditions for eviction are different. These other types of tenancies include:

[edit] Specifics of a Section 8 notice

In order to give tenants notice under Section 8, the landlord must complete a Tenancy form 3: notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy (including an AST) or an assured agricultural occupancy. The completed notice must include the terms of tenancy that have been broken. Section 8 notices continue to be valid for 12 months after they have been served.

For situations where notice was given before 26 March 2020, the tenant must have been given up to two months to leave the property (depending on the condition of the eviction).

NB Due to circumstances associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary measures were brought in:

  • If issued between 26 March 2020 and 28 August 2020 - at least three months (in England).
  • If issued on or after 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021 - at least six months (in England).
  • If issued on or after 1 June 2021 - at least four months (in England), including cases where there are less than four months of unpaid rent.
  • If issued on or after 24 July 2020 - at least six months (in Wales), unless the eviction is due to anti-social behaviour, in which case the notice period is three months or more.

In instances of eviction in England based on specific circumstances, the notice period can be shorter. These circumstances include:

From 1 June 2021, notice periods are four months in most circumstances, including for cases where there are less than four months of unpaid rent.

Additional guidance is available in Technical guidance on eviction notices.

[edit] Steps to possession

Landlords should follow technical guidance for possession as modified by the Coronavirus Act 2020. As of 1 June 2021, the Government strongly advises landlords not to commence or continue possession proceedings during the pandemic without a very good reason to do so.

If justification is warranted and tenants have not moved out of the property by the date on the Section 8 notice, then the landlord must apply to the court for a standard possession order. Additional guidance can be found here.

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[edit] External resources

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