Section 8 and Section 21 Notices are used when a landlord wants to lodge an order for possession. They are so called because they refer to Sections 8 and 21 of the Housing Act 1988.
Section 8 is used if a tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy. Section 21 is used if the landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy.
It is a legal requirement to place the tenant’s deposit in an approved Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme. This must have happened before a notice can be served.
The landlord must also be careful about how the Deposit Scheme information is presented to the tenant. If the correct information is not presented in the right way, then the tenant might argue that the notice is invalid, which could prevent the landlord from obtaining possession. It is crucial, therefore, to provide the tenant with a leaflet about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and to obtain proof from the tenant that this has been received. This helps to prevent the tenant claiming that the deposit was not held correctly under a scheme. For more information about Tenancy Deposit Scheme rules, contact us.
New rules coming into force in 2015/16 also mean that a landlord will be obliged to maintain the property to a reasonable standard if s/he wants to retain the right to serve notices. Basically, if a tenant has submitted a complaint about the property’s condition to the landlord or agent in writing and has not received an adequate response within 14 days, then the tenant will be able to apply to the local council for an improvement notice or an emergency remedial action notice. If such notices are served to the landlord, then the landlord will have no right to serve a Section 21 Notice and regain possession for the next 6 months, regardless of when the tenancy is due to end.
All formal documentation about the property must contain the address of the landlord, rather than the agent. This requirement is written into Section 47(1) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1987, which states that any written demand to the tenants must give the landlord’s name and address.
These notices are served most often due to rent arrears. However, any breach of the tenancy agreement (such as damage to the property or a noise complaint) can be used as grounds for serving a Section 8 Notice. In fact, the Housing Act 1988 lists 17 grounds for serving a Section 8 Notice. It is a legal requirement that the landlord must state his/her grounds for serving the notice when doing so.
Sometimes, additional evidence is needed if the claim goes to court (particularly for landlords registered under Local Authority Schemes). This evidence (in the form of testimonies from neighbours or photographs of the property, for example) can help convince the court to rule in the landlord’s favour.
A Section 21 Notice can be served at any time during a fixed-term tenancy, as long as the tenant is given two months’ written notice to vacate. If the tenancy has become periodic, then the notice period is still two months, but the notice should be served on the last day of a period of the tenancy.
As explained above, under new regulations, a landlord may not have the right to regain possession for a period of 6 months if s/he has failed to maintain the property to an adequate standard after the tenant has complained in writing. However, in order for the local authority to grant tenants such permission to stay, it will have to be proven that the tenants have not caused the property’s poor condition. Moreover, if the property is on the market for sale, the local authority will not be able to enforce a 6 month ban on serving a Section 21.
If the tenant does not leave by the date stated on the Section 8 or Section 21 Notice, the landlord will then have to apply for a possession order from the court. If the tenant still refuses to leave after a court order has been received, then the landlord can ask the county court bailiffs to evict the tenant.
Need some advice about legal notices? Then contact Julie Twist Properties on 0161 8348486 or at email@example.com and we will be happy to help.