Section 8 notice (grounds-based possession)

Last reviewed 26 February 2024

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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 - where the judge must grant possession if the landlord can prove the ground exists, and
  • discretionary - where 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 or more 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.

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. This document was last updated on 1 October 2021, reflecting the shorter notice periods now available to landlords.

Section 8 (Form 3) link

As the Section 8 notice is a prescribed form, using an out of date version can lead to your notice being declared invalid, forcing you to start the whole process again. Please ensure you are downloading the latest version of the notice every time you serve a Section 8 notice.

What software should I use to fill out this document?

The Section 8 form on the is an Open Office (.odt) document. This means there are a number of options available for you to use.

For PC or Android users, either the free Open Office software or Microsoft Word can open these files without issue.

For Apple users, some members are reporting difficulties opening the Section 8 form when using Apple products. This could potentially be because of the software used to open the file. If you are encountering difficulties opening the files, the best software to use is either OOreader or Office for Mac.

Completion instructions for Section 8 (Form 3)

To assist our members with completing the Section 8 notice (Form 3), we have produced completion notes. These notes include guidance to help you fill out every part of the document, including guidance explaining how to calculate the minimum required notice.

Members only

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
  • what you should do before seeking possession
  • tips on serving the notice
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