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MAKE YOUR FREE Section 8 notice

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How to make a Section 8 notice

Update: Please note that in England and Wales, between 14 November 2020 and 31 May 2021, bailiffs cannot serve eviction notice on tenants or carry out evictions, except in the most extreme circumstances (eg anti-social behaviour and extreme rent arrears of at least 6 months).

We are recommending that landlords suspend or delay evictions during the Covid-19 pandemic in line with Government Guidance. Due to Covid-19 there is uncertainty on when eviction proceedings will be allowed to recommence. The notice period you set out in this notice may be extended due to changes made by the Government in response to the pandemic. Failure to comply with this extended notice period may result in your notice being invalidated.

We recommend that you not use Rocket Lawyer's eviction notice during this time. You can find an updated  Section 8 Notice on the Government website, which has been changed to reflect new legislation.

For use in England and Wales only.

Make sure you follow proper procedure when you want to take possession of your property from a tenant that remains at the premises with this section 8 notice to quit. If your property is let on an assured shorthold tenancy, the most common form of tenancy with private landlords, you'll need to use this section 8 notice template to ensure that you have the grounds for possession of the property.

A section 8 notice is a notice seeking possession of a rented property from a tenant on grounds set under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. Section 8 grounds include rent arrears, irregular rent payments or damage to a property.

  • if the property is let on an assured shorthold tenancy
  • the tenant has not paid the rent and remains at the property
  • the tenant has damaged the property
  • if you want to take possession of your property

This section 8 notice template covers

  • the prescribed form of notice needed before any court proceedings can start
  • a list of the grounds to obtain possession of the property as set out in the Housing Act 1988

You need a section 8 notice if you want to get possession of your property during a fixed term tenancy or during the first six months of a tenancy. Use this notice if the tenant has not paid rent or they have damaged the property without repairing it. Ask a lawyer if you wish to gain possession for any other reason.

This notice should be used before you apply to the court for possession during a fixed term, ie the period for which the landlord and tenant agreed to contract for the tenancy).

Please note that if you plan to serve the notice before 31 May 2021, you must give the tenants at least 6 months’ notice under the Coronavirus Act 2020 unless you are based in England and the tenants are in at least 6 months rent arrears. Where this is the case, they must be given at least 4 week's notice.

The Act has increased the notice period required for section 8 eviction notices.

From 29 August 2020, landlords in England will need to give their tenants a minimum of 6 months’ eviction notice unless the tenants are in at least 6 months' rent arrears. Where this is the case, landlords will need to give them a minimum of 4 weeks’ eviction notice. Legislation is expected to stay in place until 31 May 2021.

From 24 July 2020, landlords in Wales will need to give their tenants a minimum of 6 months’ eviction notice when using the section 8 procedure. Legislation is expected to stay in place until 31 May 2021 but may be extended by the Government.

If the tenants don’t leave the property by the date specified in the notice, then you can apply to the court for a possession order. You can’t force your tenants to leave without a court order. 

Under the Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space), which came into force on 4 May 2021, qualifying tenants can apply for a set breathing space period to find a solution to their debt issues (eg rent arrears) and seek professional debt advice. There are two types of Breathing Space:

  • Standard Breathing Space – which is available to anyone struggling to repay their debt and provides tenants a breathing space of 60 days.

  • Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space – which is available to anyone struggling to repay their debt who is receiving treatment for mental health issues and provides a Breathing Space for the duration of the tenant’s mental health crisis treatment, plus an additional 30 days (regardless of how long the crisis treatment lasts).

During this Breathing Space, debtors will not face most enforcement actions. Most interest and charges on their debts will also be frozen. 

Where a tenant is granted such Breathing Space, the landlord is banned from serving a Section 8 notice, seeking repayment or seeking a possession order of the property during the time the protections are in place for the tenant. 

Once the Breathing Space ends, tenants will need to repay the rent owed to the landlord, in addition to any interest, fees, penalties or charges due on the rent. Such interest, fees, penalties or charges can be applied to the debt from the day the Breathing Space ends. They can only be backdated and applied to the debt during the Breathing Space if a court allows it. 

For more information, see here.

All tenants and licensees that are protected under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 will be protected by the Coronavirus Act 2020. 

This includes most tenants in social housing and residential properties and some licensees, but excludes lodgers, holiday lets, and asylum seeker accommodations. 

There are 17 grounds you can use to seek possession using a section 8 notice. The court will only grant possession if you can prove one of these grounds. The following are examples of the most common grounds used for possession of property, and the sole grounds this section 8 notice covers:

Ground 8 is a mandatory ground and if successful, the court must make a possession order in 14 days without the need for landlords to show the court that it would be reasonable for the tenant/s to lose their home. However, it must be satisfied that when the notice is served and at the time of hearing there are relevant amounts of rent outstanding:

  • at least eight weeks of arrears, where rent is payable weekly or every two weeks

  • at least two months of arrears, where rent is payable monthly

  • more than three months in arrears, where rent is payable every three months

  • more than three months in arrears, where rent is payable yearly

Ground 10 applies if the rent is unpaid when the section 8 notice is served and has not been paid by the start of the possession proceedings. 

Ground 11 applies if the tenant has regularly been late at paying the rent whether or not the tenant is actually in arrears. 

Ground 13 applies where the tenant damaged property including damage to any common areas to which the tenant has access in the building of their property. Also, a tenant will be deemed to have damaged the property where they allow someone living with them, eg a sub-tenant to cause damage.

In this document, you can choose any of the above grounds for the purposes of serving a section 8 notice. If you have doubts as to which ground is most suitable to your circumstances Ask a lawyer.

You must ensure that before serving a section 8 eviction notice on ground 8, your tenant is in arrears of the relevant amount of rent on the date you gave the tenant notice and/or on the date of the possession hearing in court. 

The notice must be sent or handed personally to the tenant. Where there are joint tenants, the notice must name all of the tenants who are on the agreement. A notice addressed to only one joint tenant would be invalid. Where there are joint landlords, the notice can be served by one landlord or all of them.

You can start proceedings only after the notice was received by your tenant and the notice expires. This will depend on the ground(s) you're using.

The limit for a landlord to start possession proceedings is within 12 months. If the tenant is still in arrears at this point you may apply to the Court for a Possession order. This can be done by filling the relevant forms with the court.

The notice can be served by an agent on your behalf. In this document you can choose who will be serving the notice.

Ask a lawyer:

  • for advice on the reason to bring the tenancy to an end

  • if you wish to rely on grounds other that 8, 10, 11 or 13

  • for assistance with completion of this Section 8 notice

  • for advice or assistance with obtaining possession of your property

This Section 8 notice is governed by the law of England and Wales.

Other names for Section 8 notice

Eviction notice and Notice to quit.

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