Eviction And Lease Notices FAQ United Kingdom
An eviction notice is a form of notice given by a landlord to a tenant which notifies the tenant that the landlord intends to recover possession of the let premises. Eviction notices may be given if a tenancy is coming to an end or in situations where the tenant has failed to pay rent or has breached any of their other obligations under the tenancy agreement. In England and Wales, there are three main types of residential eviction notices: section 21 notices for fixed term leases; section 21 notices for periodic term leases and and section 8 notices. The type of notice the landlord will be required to serve will depend upon the type of tenancy and the point during the tenancy at which the landlord wishes to serve the notice.
The best ways to serve a notice are normally to deliver it by hand to the tenant or alternatively, to send it to the tenant's address by first class registered post. It is important before sending any notice to check the tenancy agreement for any clauses or provisions relating to notices. Such clauses will often specify the means by which notices must be served and the circumstances in which a notice will be deemed to have been delivered, for example, 48 hours after the time of posting. It is also important to check that the tenant's correct address is used. If the tenancy agreement is silent on notices then it is recommended that, if a notice is being served by post, an additional 3 working days is allowed for the notice to reach the tenant. It is also recommended that the notice is sent via recorded delivery post so that the landlord has a means of tracking the notice and proving when it was sent. It also allows the landlord to check whether the notice has been received by the tenant. If the notice is being hand delivered, it is recommended that service of the notice upon the tenant is witnessed by an independent third party.
If there are joint landlords, either landlord may serve the notice.
A Section 21 Notice for a fixed term is used when a landlord wishes to legally terminate an assured shorthold tenancy at the end of the fixed term.
The Housing Act 1988 provides to landlords who have granted Assured Shorthold Tenancies for a fixed term, a legal right to regain possession of the property at the expiry of that fixed term. In order to exercise this right and regain possession of the property, the landlord must follow the correct procedure, which will involve providing the tenant with a section 21 notice, which must be in writing. Unless the correct procedure has been followed, a landlord cannot commence a possession action against the tenant.
A section 21 notice for a fixed term must contain the following information:
You must serve the notice at least two months in advance of the date upon which you want to regain possession of the property. This means that if you want to regain possession immediately after the fixed term has expired, you must serve the notice a minimum of two months prior to the end of the tenancy (adding on any additional days required for service if the notice is being posted to the tenant). If you serve the notice on the last day of the tenancy, the tenant does not have to leave the premises for a further two months.
In addition, you should note the following:
A statutory periodic tenancy occurs when an assured shorthold tenancy for a fixed term ends but the tenancy continues on a periodic basis, that is, a tenancy which runs from month-to-month or week-to-week, rather than having a fixed end date or term.
A section 21 notice for a periodic term is used for statutory periodic tenancies (assured shorthold tenancies which have automatically become periodic because the fixed term has expired). Landlords must serve this type of notice to legally terminate a statutory periodic tenancy.
This type of notice should only be served if the tenancy has become a periodic tenancy - this occurs where a tenancy has continued after the original fixed term of the tenancy has expired.
In these circumstances, the landlord must give the tenant at least two months' notice. Importantly, the landlord can only regain possession of the property on a date which is the last day of a period of the tenancy. Periods are determined with reference to how often the rent is collected. For example, if rent is collected every month then the period will be monthly. To establish what the last day of the period is (i.e., the date which must be specified in the notice), refer firstly to the date upon which the original fixed term tenancy came to an end - the periodic tenancy will have commenced on the day falling immediately after the date of expiry of the fixed term tenancy. For example, if the original tenancy ended on 18 July, the periodic tenancy will have commenced on 19 July. Assuming that periods are running monthly (i.e., on the assumption that the rent is paid monthly) then the tenancy agreement will run from month to month - so the first period would run from 19 July to 18 August. The next period will run from 19 August until 18 September. So, if, for example, it was 30 August and the landlord wished to regain possession, because the landlord is required to give two months' notice in advance of the last day of the relevant period of the tenancy, then the earliest date upon which the landlord could regain possession (and the date which should be included within the notice) will be 18 November.
A section 21 notice for a periodic term must contain the following information:
A section 8 notice is used when a landlord wishes to legally terminate an assured shorthold tenancy before the fixed term has come to an end. The section 8 Notice can only be used in situations where the tenant has not paid rent or has otherwise breached the tenants’ obligations under the tenancy agreement. The landlord must set out the specific statutory grounds which they wish to rely upon for terminating the tenancy in the section 8 Notice.
A section 8 notice must contain the following information:
The Housing Act 1988 provides 17 grounds that the landlord can cite to repossess the property. These are detailed in the Act, although briefly, can be summarised as follows:
If you would like to read the full text of each ground then click here.
Ensure that your explanation provides sufficiently detailed information for the court to understand why you are relying on the particular ground. You should refer to 'the Tenant' so there is no ambiguity as to the party you are referring to. Use complete sentences and read over what you have written at the end to ensure you have expressed yourself clearly.
Below are example reasons for relying on certain grounds. If you choose to use any of these examples you should adapt them to suit your needs and circumstances.
Mandatory grounds are grounds that if proven, the court will automatically award possession to the landlord.
Grounds 1 to 4 are called “prior notice” mandatory grounds because to rely on these grounds the landlord must have informed the tenant (in writing) prior to signing the tenancy agreement that he/she intended to repossess the property and would be relying on these grounds.
Additionally there are 3 other mandatory grounds:
All other grounds are considered to be “discretionary”. A court will award possession for a discretionary ground only if it would be reasonable to do so given the circumstances.
While you can rely on Ground 8 alone, it is not advised. If the tenant pays off part of the rent arrears prior to the court hearing, then you will then no longer be able to rely on the ground. Usually, if you are relying on Ground 8, it is best to cite other grounds as well to strengthen your case.
Discretionary grounds are all grounds which are not mandatory. Courts will only award possession on discretionary grounds if it is reasonable to do so given the cirumstances.
While it is possible to gain possession on discretionary grounds alone, most landlords wish to strengthen their case with a mandatory ground. If the tenant is in arrears, it is often best to wait two months so that you can use Ground 8 and maximise your chances of gaining possession.