What is a Section 8 and Section 21 Notice?
Section 8 Notice
The section 8 notice is used where there is some default on the tenant’s part. The most common default is non-payment of rent, but any breach within the terms of the tenancy agreement can precipitate possession proceedings (e.g. damage to the property, pets, nuisance to neighbors etc.) using a section 8 notice.
In rent arrears cases, it is normally straightforward to prove default by supplying a rent schedule detailing the missing payments. In other cases damage or noise nuisance it will be important to provide sufficient evidence.
Under section 8 notice, you can use 17 grounds to put the tenant on notice that you require possession of your property or the tenant has breached the tenancy and they must make the breach / default good. If not on expiry of the notice you may apply to the court seeking possession. Out of the 17 grounds ground 14 is the only ground that does not have a waiting period. A section 8 notice can be served on a tenant using ground 14 and a landlord without waiting can then apply to a court for a possession order. Ground 14 can be a contentious ground and you should use other grounds too if possible, this of course will mean having to wait for the notice to expire as all other grounds have a waiting period.
Section 21 Notice
If the landlord requires possession at the end of a fixed term tenancy (under section 21), he is required to serve a two months’ notice on the tenant. Only when the notice has expired, if the tenant has not left, can you then commence Court possession proceedings.
There are two types of section 21 notices. If the tenancy agreement is within the fixed term (not yet expired) you will need to serve a standard section 21 notice known as a section 21 notice (1) (b). If the tenancy has expired, you will need to serve a notice which is known as a section 21 periodic notice (4) (a). For avoidance of doubt if you already served a section 21 notice (1) (b) when the tenancy was within the fixed term and then expired you do not then need to reserve a periodic notice.
Should any claim for possession fail the tenant may well be entitled to their legal fees for defending, which the landlord may well be asked to pay Fees for defending a section 21 or section 8 claim are likely to be several hundred pounds.
It is a legal requirement that landlords obtain a possession order from a court before they can start to exercise any right to possession.