Section 8 notice (grounds-based possession)
The Housing Act 1988 and its subsequent amendments lays down certain circumstances or grounds under which a landlord applying for possession of a residential property may be successful. A landlord may use one ground or a combination of grounds if appropriate.
The grounds for possession fall into two categories:
- mandatory; the judge must grant possession if the landlord can prove the ground exists, and
- discretionary; the judge has discretion on whether to grant possession
For assured shorthold tenancies most landlords prefer to serve a Section 21 notice instead as it is generally seen as more effective. However, as this notice cannot expire before the end of the fixed term, the Section 8 notice is a very useful tool if you are still inside the fixed term of the tenancy and the tenant is causing serious issues that cannot be resolved.
When can I serve a Section 8 notice?
A Section 8 notice is available where you have granted an assured or assured shorthold tenancy and one of the grounds for possession apply.
In practice, most landlords only use this notice where the tenant is in at least two months of rent arrears and the fixed term of the tenancy has still got some time to run. In most other situations where a ground applies, the majority prefer to use the Section 21 notice instead.
Last Updated: 15/07/2020
For resources on serving a Section 21 notice to end the tenancy.
Where can I find the Section 8 notice?
The Section 8 notice is required to come in the prescribed form by the Government (Form 3). This is available from the Government's website.
Completion notes for Section 8 (Form 3)
The NRLA has produced some completion notes to help our members complete this form. It provides step-by-step instructions on completing the document, as well as tips on serving the notice.
The remaining resources and guidance on this page are available exclusively to members of the NRLA.
On this page we provide -
- completion instructions for filling out the form
- guidance on how coronavirus has affected possession rules
- what you should do before seeking possession
- tips on serving the notice
Where do I find the mandatory and discretionary grounds?
All of the grounds that can be used for a Section 8 notice are found in schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988. This version includes all additional mandatory and discretionary grounds.
Typically, landlords will use Grounds 8, 10 and 11 for rent arrears, ground 12 for breach of tenancy and ground 14 for anti-social behaviour. In addition, as the police have become more comfortable with applying for closure orders on a property, ground 7a has grown more popular with landlords.
When you are filling out the Section 8 notice you must ensure you are putting the full text of each ground from schedule 2 that you are relying on in the Section 8 notice.
For guidance on when you can and cannot use a specific ground, please see our guide to the various mandatory and discretionary grounds.
Last Updated: 23/07/2020
Guidance on the various grounds for possession.
What must a judge consider before granting possession for a discretionary ground?
Judges are expected to weigh up a number of factors when deciding whether or not to grant possession. This can include the seriousness of the fault, whether it jeopardises the landlord's ownership of the property, the impact of eviction on the tenant and the public interest to neighbours of evicting the tenant. If, based on the evidence and the circumstances, they are not satisfied that there is enough to warrant possession then a judge will not grant possession.
Given the difficulties in establishing possession is warranted, landlords who intend to seek possession under Section 8 should always look to include a mandatory ground where possible.