Serving Notice for Possession of a Residential Property

Text Eviction Notice typed on retro typewriter

Since the Landlord & Tenant Act 1985 came into force, it is illegal for a landlord to harass or try to force their tenants out of the property without following the correct procedures.

As a Landlord, you may reach a point during the tenancy where you may want to regain possession of your property. This could be due to non-payment of rent, antisocial behaviour,  unauthorised works etc. So can you do, if you need to take possession?

Most properties are let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. The most common types of Notice are Section 21 and Section 8. A Landlord can serve a Section 21 Notice without any grounds for possession of the property or a Section 8 Notice with sufficient grounds.

The simplest of Notices is Section 21 under the Housing Act 1988.  This can be enacted so long as the Landlord has followed the correct contractual and legal procedures. Otherwise obtaining possession could become difficult. A Landlord can use this Notice to evict a tenant by either

  1. A) it is after a fixed term tenancy ends, (if there is a written contract)

Or

  1. B) during a tenancy with no fixed date, known as a “Periodic Tenancy”

You cannot use a Section 21 notice if the procedures have not been followed, for example did you know that a tenant must have seen the gas safety certificate, EPC and the Governments Guide on How to Rent Guide. We must also remember that a Section 21 cannot be served within the first 6 months of a tenancy, also if the fixed term has not ended unless there is a break clause in the contract.

There are circumstances where your Section 21 Notice will be invalid. Such as properties that have been served with an Improvement Notice or houses of multiple occupation (HMO’s), without a licence from the council.

You must note that a Section 21 provide the tenant with 2 month’s notice to vacate.

A Section 8 Notice has different grounds which need to be satisfied by the court that have been broken by the tenant. There are mandatory and discretionary grounds. The Notice period varies for each ground.

It is important to notice that in both cases, if the tenant has not vacated upon expiry of the Notice, the Landlord must apply to the court for possession. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as serving a Notice and obtaining possession.

It is always advisable for a landlord to seek legal advice when completing a Section 8 or Section 21 Notice.

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