What is the Difference Between a Section 8 and a Section 21 Notice?

Are you a landlord seeking possession of your property from the tenant? Getting confused about which notice should you serve to evict him or her? If yes, you must understand the individual merit of a Section 8 notice and a Section 21 notice to avoid unnecessary expenses and delays. We’ve created this post to help you obtain a clear understanding of the differences between these notices so you can make the eviction process a bit easier and hassle-free.

How a Section 8 notice is different from a Section 21 notice?

While both notices will help you evict the tenant and regain the possession of your property, they are highly different, and hence, the correct one must be served based on your situations.

Section 8 notice

If you, as the landlord, have observed a breach of the tenancy agreement conducted by the tenant or a fault on his/her part, you can serve a Section 8 notice (a Notice to Quit) to evict the tenant. However, being able to serve this notice, you need to rely on any of the grounds mentioned in Schedule 2 of the HA 1988. These include some obvious grounds such as unpaid rent, breaches of the contract, among others. If you cite any of these obvious grounds on your Section 8 notice, the court has to grant you possession. There are also some discretionary grounds such as the tenant has provided you with false information to rent the property, etc. If one of these grounds is cited on the notice, the court will decide whether or not you should be granted possession. You can check out a full list of these grounds here. If you’ve got a legitimate ground for taking back possession, you can serve a Section 8 notice whenever you want during the tenancy. You should understand that the key objective of these grounds is that a landlord cannot just decide to evict the tenant by serving a Section 8 notice. Instead, he/she will have to substantiate the reasons to end the tenancy.

Advantages:

  • Shorter notice period
  • You may recover the arrears

Disadvantages:

  • The eviction process can be delayed if disputes are raised in court by the tenant
  • You may need to pay the legal costs of the tenant if you lose

Section 21 notice

You can serve a Section 21 notice (a Notice of Possession) is a no-fault notice in nature. It means you can take back the property without having to show any reason. Similar to a Section 8 notice, a Section 21 notice also comes with some legal obligations. For example, you cannot serve it in the first four months of the tenancy and it cannot end before the fixed term’s expiry. If the tenant hasn’t vacated your property after the end of the notice, you’ll be able to issue a claim to regain possession. You should note that if the tenancy began after the 1st October 2015, it’ll be subject to new regulations with regard to the serving of a Section 21 notice. You must provide the tenant with an AST, a CP12, a copy of the EPC, a “How to Rent” guide’s copy, and proof that you’ve protected the deposit received from the tenant in an approved deposit scheme.

If you haven’t provided the tenant with these, your Section 21 notice will be considered invalid.

Advantages:

  • Usually faster court proceedings
  • You don’t need to prove any grounds

Disadvantages:

  • Longer notice period
  • Compliance with certain requirements is must

Closing thoughts

When deciding on the notice you should serve, it is important to go for the one that would maintain a balance between your chances of success and the speed of the eviction. You must also use the appropriate form, regardless of the notice you plan to use, to make your claim valid.

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