Landlords must ensure they give the correct amount of notice when seeking possession of a private residential property.
The notice periods are set out in section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 (the ‘Act’) and depend on the ground relied upon. When seeking possession based on rent arrears, the relevant grounds are 8, 10 and 11 of Schedule 2 to the Act. They are:
At least two months’ rent (if paid monthly – check for different timescales if rent is paid on a different timescale) is unpaid at the time of service of the notice and on the date of the hearing.
Some rent was unpaid at the time of service of the notice and on the date of the hearing.
Persistent delays in paying rent, whether or not there are arrears at the date the claim is started.
When using any of the grounds above, or a combination, the notice period is two weeks.
Between 26/03/2020 and 30/09/2021, the notice periods have been amended due to the coronavirus pandemic. They are:
1. Three months for section 8 notices served between 26/03/2020 and 28/08/2020.
2. Six months for section 8 notices served between 29/08/2020 and 31/05/2021.
3. Four months for section 8 notices served between 01/06/2021 and 30/09/2021.
Where there are significant arrears
1. Four weeks between 29/08/2020 and 31/05/2021 where there are at least six months’ worth of rent arrears.
2. Four weeks between 01/06/2021 and 30/09/2021 where there are at least four months’ worth of rent arrears.
From 01/08/2021, landlords can serve a two months’ notice for rent arrears of less than four months when relying on grounds 8, 10 or 11.
Whilst you can never ensure you get possession based on arrears of rent (your tenant could pay off the arrears before the hearing!); you can ensure your section 8 notice is as strong as it can be:
1. Always cite all three rent grounds in your notice, where possible.
2. Make sure the correct amount of notice is given, allowing time for service.
3. Always use the current form 3 and fill it in completely and correctly.
For specific advice on the best route to obtain possession (whether based on rent arrears or otherwise), get in touch for some free and friendly initial advice:
01704 790 532 – [email protected]