Section 8 Claims for Possession
An alternative to a section 21 notice is a section 8 notice. This notice will allow you to obtain a possession order AND a County Court Judgment for any rent arrears (if there are any). The timing and validity of section 8 notices has been altered and significantly extended as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. S 8 notices are now required to be for 6 months with some limited exceptions including where rent arrears are over 6 months, in which case, they expire after 4 weeks. After it has expired you can issue a claim, and so it can be a quicker process, but there are some drawbacks in comparison to the section 21 procedure.
A section 8 notice is a fault based notice. You are the landlord, the tenant is the tenant but you are saying that you are entitled to possession of the property (and for the AST to come to an end) because of something the tenant hasn’t done. Usually this type of notice will be issued because the tenant hasn’t paid rent, but other breaches of the AST can also be considered and covered in a section 8 notice.
As you are relying on a breach of the AST by the tenant there will certainly be at least one hearing, and because of the type of claim, the tenant is also allowed to pursue a counterclaim. Counterclaims can include claims (against the landlord) for any deposit issues or alleged disrepair in the property. This can all significantly delay a landlords ability to obtain a possession order and if allegations are made at the first hearing it is likely an adjournment will be ordered to a later date. That means lost time and money. Sometimes however a landlord will have no choice but to consider a section 8 notice- for example if you are only 2 months into a 12 month tenancy and no rent has been paid. You cannot serve a section 21 notice with the first 4 months and it cannot expire until the end of the 12 months, so a section 8 notice would be your only available approach to regain possession as quickly as possible.
If there are rent arrears if the tenant is in eight weeks/two months’ rent arrears both at the date of service of the notice and at the date of the hearing, the court has no discretion and must order possession to you. If the tenants makes a payment which brings the arrears below two months, then the court will have discretion and may not order possession to you.
THE SECTION 8 EVICTION SERVICE
STEP 1; THE NOTICE
To go ahead email the AST, Deposit prescribed information and terms and conditions, EPC and How to Rent Booklet and confirmation of the rent arrears or what the tenant has done wrong to us at [email protected] and we will confirm next steps.
STEP 2; THE CLAIM
Our fixed fee includes drafting and issuing the claim. To go ahead email the AST, Deposit prescribed information and terms and conditions, EPC, How to Rent Booklet and section 8 notice to us at [email protected] and we will confirm next steps.
Issuing a claim based on an incorrect or invalid section 8 notice can result in you being ordered to pay the tenants legal costs as well as your own. If the section 8 notice is not valid it is not in your interests to issue a claim relying on that notice and is better to review whether the notice is valid first. If you are unsure whether you are entitled or have served a valid section 8 notice. To go ahead email your details to [email protected] and we will contact you.
STEP 3; THE HEARING
With a section 8 notice and possession claim the starting point is that there will be at least one hearing. We will draft and file and serve a witness statement on your behalf confirming the rent arrears. We will also arrange for an advocate to attend the hearing on your behalf. If you need more information regarding the eviction process and how it works, read our eviction guide available here.
STEP 4; THE BAILIFFS
Our fixed fee includes our drafting and submitting application to apply to the court for a bailiffs appointment, if needed. There is a court fee which is currently £121.
Residential Possession Services
Our fixed fee covers all of our services for residential possession:
- Complete review of all tenancy documents
- Advising on any problems or issues so that a valid notice can be served
- Resolving the problems
- Drafting notices and serving on tenants
- Drafting claim for possession
- Reviewing any defences received
- Drafting any witness evidence
- Attending hearing, or instructing advocate to attend
- Corresponding with tenant as necessary
- Applying for County Court Bailiff
Fixed Fee: £1,500 plus vat and court services
Court Fees: £355 and £121 (subject to change by the court)
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