When a tenant has breached a condition of the tenancy agreement, a section 8 notice can be served in order to obtain possession of the property before the end of the fixed term.
Under what grounds can a Section 8 notice be served?
Generally the section 8 route is used when there are rent arrears. In this situation the landlord will rely on either one or a combination of the following grounds:
- Ground 8: that the tenant owes at least two months' rent (in the case of a monthly tenancy) both when the landlord served notice that he wanted possession and still owes two months' rent at the date of the court hearing. If the rent is payable weekly, quarterly or yearly the ground requires that there are rent arrears of eight weeks, three months and six months respectively.
- Ground 10: that the tenant was behind with his rent when the landlord served notice that he wanted possession, and when he began court proceedings.
- Ground 11: that, even if the tenant was not behind with his rent when the landlord started possession proceedings, he has been persistently behind with his rent.
There are several other breaches that can also warrant service of a section 8 notice. These include:
- Ground 13: the condition of the property has deteriorated because of the behaviour of the tenant or any other person living there
- Ground 12: the tenant has breached any term of the tenancy agreement (excluding those relating to rent)
- Ground 17: that the landlord was induced to grant the tenancy by a false statement made knowingly or recklessly by either the tenant or a person acting at the tenant’s instigation
The Housing Act 1988 provides a total of 17 grounds which a landlord may use to recover possession under section 8. For each ground, the landlord must be able to provide proof of a breach.
How long will it take?
From start to finish, the possession procedure can take between two and five months. A minimum of two weeks’ notice is required followed by a two month period between filing proceedings and the hearing day. The possession order, granted as absolute, will normally then take a further two weeks.