Section 8 Notice

A property is a significant asset and one that needs to be constantly creating revenue. To allow this cycle to flow throughout the year, laws are in place to protect home-owners and their assets.

Should an occupant breach certain terms of their assured shorthold tenancy agreement before their fixed term has ended, landlords can issue a notice
that details their intention to regain possession of the property. The form in question is called a Section 8 and operates under the 1988 Housing Act.

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Grounds

Along with the failure to produce an installment of rent, tenants can also be faced with a Section 8 notice if they fall foul of other stipulations in their tenancy agreement.

Tenants are commonly faced with legal action after causing damage to a property, playing loud music or generally causing a disturbance. In some extreme cases, landlords will issue a Section 8 notice after discovering evidence of the property being sub-let.

There are a total of 17 grounds available to landlords, which are split into two categories. Mandatory, where the tenant is ordered to leave the property so long as the landlord has proof of a contract breach and discretionary, where the court decides on the matter at hand.

Details

To successfully issue a Section 8 notice, the landlord must fully explain the situation at hand. Presenting their case in a formal way is crucial to them regaining control of the property, so time and attention must be paid during the issuing process.

It is important that the Section 8 notice is completed correctly and with no errors if it is to be valid. This can also avoid problems later on. To ensure the correct details are included, some letting agents offer a Section 8 template which - after the details have been inputted - can be generated for a one-off fee.

When filling in the form, landlords commonly have to provide some of their personal details; including their name, personal address, an email address and a telephone number. The tenant's personal information will also need to be enclosed, along with the property address and the grounds on which the notice is being issued.

Serving

The manner in which the notice is served usually depends on the relationship between the landlord and tenant. It can be served in person, in which case it is important that a signature is obtained at the time; both from the tenant and from an independent witness.

Some landlords will opt for the postal method, often carried out when the tenant is fully aware of their fault and doesn't require a second explanation. Should this method be chosen, proof of postage must be kept.

Court

Every notice must contain an expiry date specified by the landlord. This can vary from immediately up to two months, depending on the grounds cited in the notice. Should the tenant fail to acknowledge or deny the claims in the Section 8 by the end of the notice period, the matter will have to go to court.

If the matter does go to court then the court will need to be satisfied that the grounds on which the Section 8 notice was issued are valid. Should their case prove to be successful, a possession order will be granted requiring the tenant to leave the property within 14 days.