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SECTION 8 – Grounds for Possession

A landlord can recover possession of his property under a fixed term assured shorthold tenancy (AST) by serving a Section 8. To be able to terminate an AST by serving a Section 8 Notice at least one of the statutory grounds for possession set out in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 must be satisfied. There are mandatory and discretionary grounds. If the landlord can provide evidence that a mandatory ground is satisfied, the court must make an order for possession. Even if a discretionary ground for eviction if proven, it is up to the courts to decide whether it is reasonable to evict the tenant. A list of both mandatory and discretionary grounds can be found below.

Under section 8 the landlord is required to first serve notice on his tenant informing the tenant that possession is sought and the ground(s) on which the landlord is relying. The form of notice prescribed by the Housing Act 1988 must be used in order for the notice to be valid. The length of notice period given to the tenant will depend on the ground(s) the landlord is relying on.

Grounds for PossessionMandatory/DiscretionaryNotice Period Reqiured
1. The landlord used to occupy the property or wants to occupy the property as his main homeMandatory2 months
2. The property is subject to a mortgage existing before the property was let and the mortgagee is entitled to exercise a power of saleMandatory2 months
3. The property is holiday accommodation let out of season for a term of no more than 8 monthsMandatory2 weeks
4. The property is student accommodation let out of term time for a term of no more than 12 monthsMandatory2 weeks
5. The property is accommodation for a minister of religionMandatory2 months
6. The property requires redevelopmentMandatory2 months
7. The tenant has diedMandatory2 months
8. The tenant owes substantial rent arrearsMandatory2 weeks
9. Suitable alternative accommodation is available for the tenantDiscretionary2 months
10. The tenant is in arrears of rentDiscretionary2 weeks
11. The tenant has persistently delayed in paying the rentDiscretionary2 weeks
12. The tenant has breached any obligation in the tenancy other than one related to the payment of rentDiscretionary2 weeks
13. The tenant’s actions have caused the condition of the property to deteriorateDiscretionary2 weeks
14. The tenant is guilty of causing a nuisance or annoyance or has been convicted of using the property for any illegal or immoral purpose.DiscretionaryNone Required
14A. One tenant has left the property due to domestic abuseDiscretionary2 weeks
15. The tenant has allowed the landlord’s furniture to deteriorate due to ill-treatment.Discretionary2 weeks
16. The tenant occupies the property in consequence of his former employment by the landlordDiscretionary2 months
17. The landlord granted the tenancy as a result of a statement made by the tenant which is later found to be false.Discretionary2 weeks

The above is merely a brief description of each ground. Landlords should refer to Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988 for full details of each ground for possession.

WARNING: The forms referred to in this note are only intended to be used by those experienced or trained to do so.

The information contained in this note is intended for general guidance only and cannot be relied upon. We recommend that you contact a solicitor for specific advice before serving notice or starting possession proceedings.

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