Section 8 – Grounds for Possession


To ensure you are serving a valid Section 8 notice, it needs to detail which grounds the tenant has breached according to Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988.

The most common type of breach is non-payment or late payment of rent; however, there are a total of 17 grounds the landlord can include as a reason for eviction.

These grounds are split into two categories; mandatory and discretionary. Where a mandatory ground is referred to in the Section 8, the court must grant the landlord an order for possession. On the other hand, if a discretionary ground is cited, the court will only grant the landlord an order for possession if it deems it reasonable to do so.

Mandatory Grounds

Ground 1The landlord requires the property in order to use it as their main residence. This ground can only be used if the landlord used the property as their main residence prior to the tenancy beginning.
Ground 2The mortgage lender on the property has served notice to foreclose. In this case the mortgage in question has to predate the start of the tenancy.
Ground 3The property was previously used as a holiday let and is required to return to the status of holiday let. For the exact conditions that apply to this Ground please see the Housing Act 1988.
Ground 4The property is being let by an educational institution and is now required by students of the educational institution. Written notice that this may happen must be served before the tenancy begins.
Ground 5The property is owned by a religious body and they require possession for a member of their church i.e. a Minister of Religion.
Ground 6The landlord wants to demolish and reconstruct, or redevelop all or part of the property. The tenant needs to have refused to live in all or part of the property while work is carried out for this ground to be feasible. If granted the landlord is required to pay all reasonable moving costs to the tenant.
Ground 7The current tenant is a tenant heir and is not named on the original tenancy agreement. The landlord must serve a Section 8 notice within 12 months of the death of the named tenant.
Ground 8The tenant has failed to pay more than 8 weeks rent in the case of weekly payments, 2 months in the case of monthly payments or 1 quarter in the case of quarterly payments. Ground 8 is often cited in conjunction with Grounds 10 and 11 so that a partial payment by the tenant just prior to the court hearing doesn’t render the possession order obsolete.
Note: When claiming possession under this ground, it is advisable to cite more than one ground since, if the tenant pays off part of the arrears shortly before the hearing, this ground can no longer be proved and possession proceedings will have to be abandoned. It is, therefore, common practice to cite more than one ground for rent arrears (i.e. grounds 8, 10 & 11), if applicable, and to also wait until at least two months’ rent (or eight weeks in the case of a weekly tenancy) is unpaid before issuing the Section 8 Notice.

Discretionary Grounds

Ground 9Suitable accommodation of the same type and quality has been offered to the tenant and refused. The landlord is required to pay all reasonable removal costs if possession is granted.
Ground 10The rent is in arrears but by no more than 8 weeks in the case of weekly payments, 2 months in the case of monthly payments and 1 quarter in the case of quarterly payments.
Ground 11The tenant is repeatedly late with payments or repeatedly fails to pay their rent until prompted by the landlord.
Ground 12The tenant has breached any of the terms listed in the tenancy agreement.
Ground 13The tenant has neglected or damaged the property, or they have sublet the property to another individual who has neglected or damaged the property.
Ground 14The tenant is considered a nuisance to neighbours or other tenants and has received complaints concerning their conduct.
Ground 15The furniture listed on the property inventory has been misused, damaged, broken or sold by the tenant or any individual living with them.
Ground 16The property was let to the tenant as a condition of their employment but the employment has now come to an end.
Ground 17The property was let on the basis of false information provided by the tenant or one of their referees/ guarantor.

Periods of Notice Required

When serving your tenant with a Section 8 notice, it must include the earliest date on which possession proceedings can be started. If the date is incorrect and not enough notice is given, the notice will be invalid.

The amount of notice a landlord needs to give is dependent upon which grounds they are relying on.

  • Grounds 3, 4, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 or 17 - at least 2 weeks
  • Grounds 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 16 - at least 2 months
  • Ground 14 - No notice is required

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