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Knowing the difference between a Section 8 and a Section 21 eviction

Being a landlord is not as easy or glamorous as some people like to portray. One can have a great tenant for many years and then circumstances change and problems occur. Understanding and serving the correct notice will save time and frustrations.


Section 21:

This is the notice that is used most commonly used but there are steps that must be observed. A Section 21 notice (also known as a Notice of Possession) cannot be served in the first 4 months of a tenancy (or any subsequent renewal) and the notice cannot end before the fixed term. A landlord does not have to give any reason for serving the notice in order to regain possession. Once served, a Section 21 is valid for up to 6 months. Some landlords as a matter of course, issue a Section 21 to the tenant after 4 months of tenancy just as a matter of precaution. This avoids possession delays if the tenant turns out to be troublesome.  The Section 21 will it lapse is not required if it’s not required,

All tenancies (including renewals but excluding tenancies that continue on a statutory periodic basis) that started after the 1st October 2015 are now subject to new regulations associated with the serving of Section 21 notices.

You MUST provide your tenants with the following documents at the commencement of the tenancy:

- An AST (make sure it is signed and dated)

- A valid gas safety certificate (CP12)

- A copy of the EPC

- A copy of the “How to rent” checklist (find it here at issue to the tenant at commencement of tenancy (retain evidence that these documents have been provided to your tenants).

Also, ensure that there is no outstanding repair, the utilities are in good order or that there are no unresolved disputes with the tenant BEFORE you serve the notice


Section 8:

Ok. So this is the more serious type of notice you would serve to a tenant. A Section 8 notice (also known as a Notice to Quit) is served when the tenant is in breach of their contract or the landlord has grounds for possession. Rent arrears are the most common ground for eviction, although there may be other grounds in which a contract can be breached (being a nuisance neighbour etc).  With regards to unpaid rent, you should note that the tenant must be at least 2 months in arrears and if the tenant reduces their arrears to less than 2 months at any time from the date that the notice is served to the date of the court hearing, your Section 8 notice will no longer be valid!


Some things to consider:

If there are legitimate grounds for a landlord requiring possession via a Section 8 notice, the notice can be served at any time during the tenancy, including the fixed term.  The notice can be immediate, 2 weeks, or 2 months, depending on the grounds for the notice.

You must have fully complied with the deposit scheme legislation before pursuing a Section 21 eviction. If you did not protect the deposit then you will have to take some remedial steps first.

If under Section 8, the court gives you a money order against the tenant, you will have to act on the order to recover the money. Often you will have no success or the cost wont justify it. The tenant can put in a defense and even if the tenant is making things up, this can force an adjournment and delay proceedings, creating further headaches and waste of time. Also, if you lose, you may have the tenant’s legal costs. Ouch!

In our opinion it is easier to serve a Section 21, even if the tenant is in arrears, as the process for a Section 8 can be costly with little or no return.  It is possible to serve both notices at the same time.


Oh yes and remember, always get a professional inventory made (and signed off by the tenant). It will be hugly invaluable in the long run of any type of tenancy. Contact us at

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