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What is a Section 8 Notice?

What is a section 8 notice and what does it mean if you get one? Let’s get straight into it.

A section 8 notice is given to tenants by landlords when they want to take back possession of a property being leased under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST).

They’re part of the Housing Act 1998 and can be issued in England and Wales. If you’ve been handed a section 8 notice, then this means that your landlord wants their property back. You’re being evicted and you’ve just been given notice to vacate the property.

However, you won’t normally receive a section 8 out of the blue. Unlike a section 21 notice, they can only be issues when something has gone wrong. Either you’ve breached the tenancy, or they’re losing the property.

How your landlord can serve notice

To serve you with a section 8 notice, your landlord must first be able to show that you have violated the conditions of your tenancy and must follow a formal procedure involving the obtaining of a court order. It is unlawful for a landlord to attempt to force you out of your home without obtaining this court order.

A section 8 notice must be delivered on an official document from a qualified source, such as the courts. You may receive it in person, or it may be sent to you through the post. In some cases, the landlord will obtain proof of delivery in case you claim that you didn’t receive the notice.

Some crucial aspect of the notice include:

  • The notice form you’ve been issued must be up-to-date.
  • The grounds for the breach of contract must align exactly with the grounds listed in the 1998 Housing Act.
  • There should be specifics of the claim, such as a copy of the payment schedule with details of any missed payments.
  • The full address of the property.
  • If a property has a joint tenancy, everyone who lives there must be identified.

A section 8 notice can be invalid if issued improperly, so check that all the details on yours are accurate in case you can challenge it.

Why are section 8 notices issued?

The most common reason for a tenant to receive a section 8 notice is due to rent arrears. And your landlord has the right to evict you if you fall behind with your rent payments.

If you pay your rent monthly, you must be at least two months behind in your rent payments. If you pay rent weekly or fortnightly, you must be at least eight weeks behind.

If the landlord wants to evict you for not paying rent, they must be able to provide evidence that you actually owe them money.

In some cases, the landlord might need copies of any previous communication between you two where it’s been mentioned that you’re behind on payments — usually in the form of warning letters or emails.

 If you’re not in rent arrears

The other grounds for a section 8 notice under the Housing Act are as follows:

  • The house is being repossessed. The landlord’s mortgage must have been in place before the tenancy began, otherwise you should have been informed that it was a possibility.
  • You have violated terms in the tenancy agreement (excluding rent being owed).
  • You’ve damaged the property by neglect or from a guest or visitor who was staying at the property or visiting you there.
  • If you’re harassing or causing a nuisance to your neighbours or are using the property for unlawful activities (and have been convicted of this by a court).
  • Or, if you gave false information when you entered into the agreement of your tenancy.

If you’re not sure how to react to the section 8 notice, getting legal assistance is a good idea. Speaking to the team at Shelter is always a good option.

Mark Flint

Mark regularly contributes to the Right Rent blog; sharing all the latest news, crafting informative articles and sourcing the very best rental content for our readers.

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