SERVING A NOTICE TO TENANTS
A very common question my clients ask me is what type of notice should I serve to my tenant?
Although both a Section 8 and Section 21 can be served on tenants, there is a distinctive difference between the two notices and it is important to serve the correct one to avoid unnecessary delays and expenses.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SECTION 8 AND SECTION 21 NOTICE?
The possession procedure under Section 8 of the Housing Acts 1988 & 1996 is available to landlords where the tenant is in breach of one or more terms of his tenancy.
This particular route provides 8 mandatory and 9 discretionary grounds for possession. With this particular route it is important you realise that you may not in fact obtain the result you want if you go to Court i.e a possession order and/or a money order.
Simply, a section 8 notice should be served when a tenant is in breach of contract, as mentioned above their are a mandatory and discretionary grounds you can apply under. One of the most common grounds for eviction is rent arrears.
The Section 21 Route has far more certainty and less risk for the landlord and this route should be used if it is just possession you require. It should be noted that this route cannot be used unless, both the notice period (2 months) and the fixed-term have expired or the tenancy has rolled into a periodic tenancy.
Whereas the section 8 route can be taken during the fixed-term, once the section 8 notice period has expired – 2 weeks (14 days) for most grounds.
Some times it’s better to serve a Section 21, even when a tenant has breached their contract.
Although it is a matter for you entirely, in my experience over the years in doing such applications sometimes it is beneficial to serve a s 21 notice where the tenant is in breach of a contract so the conditions above have been satisfied.
If for example you have a valid ground for serving a section 8 notice and the current term of the tenancy has either rolled into a Periodic Tenancy or with in or close to 2 months of the tenancy from reaching it’s end date, it’s probably better to serve a Section 21 instead. Although this may seem odd considering what I have said above I shall try and explain.
When serving a section 8 notice there is a lot of “legal hassle” if i can put in that way as oppose to the section 21. The reason for this is with a section 8 you will need to outline the grounds for possessions. When identifying these it is a good idea to use more than one, if you have any questions on the grounds you can use feel free to ask.
As well as the grounds identified which of course can be disputed by the tenant in Court the Landlord will of course have to prove to the Court that the tenant has breached a condition in the agreement.
As long as the section 21 notice has been served correctly the Court is likely to serve a grant the Landlord possession even if the tenant refuses to vacate.
CAN I SERVE A SECTION 8 AND 21 AT THE SAME TIME?
It’s important to note that both sections are completely separate from one another. For this reason you do not have to cancel one of them before serving the other. If appropriate you can serve both of them at the same and they will not have any conflicting issues they both serve different purposes.
It is paramount to get to grips with which notice to serve as it can make an important difference to you as a Landlord. I also represent tenants who are being forced out of their homes.
All views are my own and none of the above is not to be relied on as legal advice.