How to serve a valid Section 8 Notice

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Introduction: how to serve a valid Section 8 Notice


To serve a valid Section 8 Notice, landlords must follow a set process. If landlords are basing their claim on rent arrears, for example, failure to follow the correct procedure can waste a lot of time — and cost a lot of money.

That’s why online estate agent easyProperty has together this guide.

This guide covers:

This blog acts as a guide on how to serve a valid Section 8 Notice. When in doubt, you are strongly advised to consult a legal expert.


What is a Section 8 Notice?

A Section 8 Notice is often used to gain possession of a property at any time during a tenancy. However, a valid Section 8 Notice can only be used if landlords meet one or more grounds for eviction. They are commonly used for when tenants are in rent arrears.

Unlike a Section 21 Notice, landlords must provide a reason for seeking possession to serve a valid Section 8 Notice. For more information about Section 21, take a look at easyProperty’s guide: ‘How to serve a valid Section 21 Notice‘.

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When can landlords serve a Section 8 Notice?

Landlords renting properties under Assured or Regulated tenancies must serve a valid Section 8 Notice to take back a property.

Tenants who have Assured or Regulated tenancies have more protection than those under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). They can only be evicted if one or more grounds in the Housing Act 1988 are met.

For an AST,  Landlords can serve a valid Section 8 Notice at any point during the tenancy. However, they must meet one or more mandatory or discretionary grounds for possession.

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What are mandatory grounds?

To serve a valid Section 8 Notice, landlords must base their reason for seeking possession on one or more grounds in the Housing Act 1988. The grounds should be stated on the notice.

If one or more mandatory grounds are met, courts have no choice but to award possession of the property to the landlord.

Take note
Tenants need to know before a tenancy starts that possession may be sought under any of these grounds. It’s best to add any grounds that might be used to the tenancy agreement.

Mandatory grounds
Ground 1: Landlord needs to live in property
The landlord or their spouse/civil partner needs the property as their main home. They must have previously lived there.

Ground 2: Property subject to mortgage
If the property has a mortgage that started before the tenancy, the lender may repossess the property. Tenants can be evicted under this ground if they knew before the tenancy began that the property may be taken back in this instance.

Ground 3: Holiday let
If the property is normally let as a holiday home (for example, in the summer) landlords can take back the property. The tenancy mustn’t be longer than eight months for this ground to apply, and the property must have been let as a holiday home the year before.

Ground 4: Educational institution
This applies to dwellings like student halls. Possession can be sought if the tenancy is fewer than 12 months, and the property belongs to an educational institution. It must have been let as a student home the year before.

Ground 5: Minister of religion
Used for when religious bodies need the property for a new minister to live in and to perform their duties.

Ground 6: Refurbishment
Landlords can take back the property if they need to do vast repairs which would make it uninhabitable. Landlords may have to pay for removal costs.

Ground 7: Tenant death
If a tenant dies, the tenancy may be passed on under the will of the deceased. Landlords can take back the property within 12 months after the tenant dies if the tenancy hasn’t passed on to a spouse or civil partner.

Ground 8: Rent arrears
Landlords can take back a property if tenants are in rent arrears. They must be in arrears both on the date the notice is served and on the date it’s brought to court.

If rent is paid weekly or monthly, tenants must be in arrears by eight weeks or two months for this ground to apply.

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Discretionary grounds
Landlords can use any of the discretionary grounds when evicting tenants. However, this means a court can give tenants another chance, and landlords often pay the legal costs. It’s best to meet one or more of the mandatory grounds, so a judge has no choice but to evict tenants.


What to do before serving a Section 8 Notice

Before landlords serve a valid Section 8 Notice, they must think carefully about the grounds they will use. What landlords need to do depends on which grounds they use.

Take note
If landlords serve a Section 8 Notice due to rent arrears, it’s vital they’ve protected the deposit. The fine for not doing so is up to three times the amount — paid to tenants. If a court grants this, it could bring tenants out of arrears and neutralise the grounds for possession.

Landlords seeking possession due to rent arrears should have made reasonable efforts to remind tenants that they haven’t made payment. This can be in the form of letters sent to the tenant for each week they are in arrears.

It’s also important that landlords have met their obligations — particularly when it comes to repairs. If tenants can put up an argument that landlords haven’t been performing their duties, a judge may dismiss the landlord’s claim for possession.

For more about landlord obligations, take a look at easyProperty’s guide: ‘My landlord obligations: what are they?

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What if tenants won’t leave?


If tenants haven’t left by the date stated on the possession order, you must apply to County Court bailiffs to remove them by force.

Apply now >>

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How easyProperty can help

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Get tenants out
Start now and evict your tenants under a Section 8 Notice.

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Prevention is better than cure
Before you allow tenants to move in, it’s highly recommended you have them referenced.

At no extra cost to landlords, we can find out if your new tenants can pay you each month, and whether they’ve been good tenants in the past.

Start referencing >>

Learn more
For more information on how to evict tenants, take a look easyProperty’s full guide: Advice for evicting tenants.

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This blog acts as a guide on how to serve a valid Section 8 Notice. When in doubt, you are strongly advised to consult a legal expert.

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