Grounds for possession when using a Section 8 notice

Last updated 2 June 2021 - updated notice periods

Introduction

Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 creates a number of grounds under which a landlord may successfully apply to court for possession using a Section 8 notice.

These grounds for possession apply to all assured or assured shorthold tenancies entered into after 15 January 1989. The terms of your tenancy agreement must make provision for termination on these grounds and the ground needs to be written in full on the Section 8 Notice.

This document is designed to provide a summary of each ground, explaining when they should be used and what each ground means. These summaries are not to be inserted into the Section 8 Notice itself.

The full text of the grounds should be inserted in full into your Section 8 notice and can be found in full in the legislation.

Will I always get possession if I can prove the existence of a ground for possession?

It depends on which ground is being relied upon.

The grounds for possession are split into mandatory or discretionary grounds. For mandatory grounds (1-8), a judge must order possession if the landlord can prove the existence of the ground. For discretionary grounds (9-17), the judge will decide whether or not the circumstances justify a possession order.

Is there a limit on how many grounds I can use?

No, as long as you have evidence of the ground then you should insert it on the Section 8 notice. 

Have there been any changes to the grounds for possession during the coronavirus pandemic?

During the coronavirus pandemic the notice period required for a Section 8 notice changed in both England and Wales. Currently, in England the notice periods require you give up to 2 months notice while in Wales the notice period will normally be six months long.

There are some exceptions to these longer notice periods but they are different in each nation. To see what notice period you should use, please see our Section 8 page for England or our Section 8 page for Wales for further guidance.

The mandatory grounds for possession

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