Evicting tenants: what notice is required before issuing proceedings?
MARK QUINN >
SolicitorThu 3 March 2022
There are certain procedures a landlord must follow when tenants are being evicted from a property. This article explains the requirements for ending an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), which is the most common form of tenancy. A pro-active tenant can often defeat a possession claim due to technical failures on the part of the landlord. We will also consider the required notice periods and deadlines for issuing proceedings.
Difference between s8 and s21 notice
Section 8 notice to quit
- This is usually given when a tenant has breached the terms of the tenancy.
- The notice itself must specify the grounds for possession (a list of which is found in Schedule 2 of the legislation).
- The most common ground for this type of notice being served is rent arrears.
- The minimum notice required in a section 8 notice varies depending on which ground is being relied upon. For example, if rent arrears is the ground for possession, the notice period is just 2 weeks. However, other grounds may require up to two months’ notice.
Section 21 notice to quit
- Unlike section 8, the landlord does not need to rely on any of the grounds for possession when using the section 21 procedure.
- The advantage of this option is that there is no need to prove an element of tenant default to obtain possession.
- A landlord can use the section 21 procedure to terminate an AST after the fixed term has expired (it is not possible to terminate during the fixed term).
- The landlord can use the ‘accelerated possession procedure’ meaning possession can be regained without a court hearing.
- The minimum notice required in a section 21 notice is two months.
- There are a number of hurdles a landlord must meet prior to sending a s.21 notice.
S21 notice and COVID
Notice periods were extended during the pandemic, however, this extension has now ended. If you need to determine whether notices given prior to 01 October 2021 are valid, you can use this notice checker by Shelter. In Wales, the minimum period of notice will remain at six months' notice until at least 24 March 2022.
When does a s21 or s8 notice expire?
Under the section 8 procedure, proceedings must be started within 12 months after the notice is served.
With a section 21 procedure, possession proceedings need to be brought within six months of the date of service of the notice. If the date specified in the notice is more than two months after it was served, the proceedings can be initiated no later than four months from that date.
The requirements of these notices and subsequent proceedings can be very specific. Landlords often fall foul of the requirements under s.21, providing the tenant with an opportunity to dismiss the claims at Court.
Mark Quinn is an experienced solicitor who deals with possession claims on behalf of both landlords and tenants and can be contacted directly by email by clicking the 'contact us' should you require any further information.
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