Most landlords will have heard about Section 8 notice to quit orders, but do you know how and when to issue one?
Also known as a ‘possession notice’, the name refers to Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988. Section 8 notices can be served on tenants by landlords wishing to regain possession of a property during the fixed term of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). Do not confuse it with a Section 21 notice which can only be used for regaining possession at the end of a tenancy.
Crucially, a Section 8 notice can only be issued to a tenant who has breached the terms of the tenancy agreement. Most issues involve rent arrears, but the Housing Act 1988 outlines 17 grounds on which a landlord may seek possession before a tenancy has finished.
These grounds include repossession by the mortgage company, any breaches of the tenancy agreement other than rent arrears, causing a nuisance or criminal behaviour, furniture damage and providing false information.
Landlords need to follow a strict process for any order to be valid, starting with serving a Section 8 notice to quit on the tenant. This notice clearly states the grounds for the notice and the fact that the landlord intends to seek possession of the property.
The amount of notice given to the tenant depends on the grounds. For example, rent arrears requires just two weeks’ notice but for other issues it can be two months.
Simply issuing a Section 8 notice will not guarantee that the court will grant a possession order, so you need to make a strong case and gather as much evidence as possible.
If a court agrees that a landlord is entitled to possession, then it will grant a possession order to take effect within 14 days. Technically, it is possible that this period can be extended to six weeks if the tenant proves the experience causes exceptional hardship.
As with any legal matter, we advise that you seek professional advice from a reputable letting agent or property lawyer.
If you are thinking of investing in a buy-to-let property, call Knight Property Management today on 01992 308181.