From 1st February 2016 there is a new prescribed form for all section 8 notices and all landlords have had to complete ‘Right to Rent’ checks on their tenants.
Further provisions are being introduced on 1st December 2016 which include criminal offences for landlords and agents who fail to carry out right to rent checks or fail to take steps to remove illegal immigrant tenants from their rented residential property in England. There are also new provisions which make it easier for landlords to evict illegal immigrant tenants from properties in England, and in some circumstances landlords are able to evict without a court order.
This blog will focus on the changes to section 8 and the new routes available to landlords to end an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement (AST) as a result of their tenant’s immigration status. The provisions also apply to other residential tenancy agreements – please contact us if you have any queries about other types of tenancies. These provisions apply whether the AST was entered into before or after 1st December 2016.
Eviction without a court order – all occupiers are disqualified
If the Secretary of State has given any notice or notices in writing to the landlord which do both of the following:-
Identify the occupier or all of the occupiers at the property; and
Confirm that the occupier(s) is disqualified from occupying the property as a result of their immigration status.
The landlord is permitted to terminate the AST by giving notice in writing in the prescribed form to the tenant(s) specifying the date on which the agreement will come to an end. This cannot be less than 28 days from the date of the notice. A copy of the prescribed form can be found here.
The notice can be served by sending it by post, leaving it at the premises or personally serving it on the tenant.
The notice is enforceable as if it were an order of the High Court and therefore the landlord is not required to issue possession proceedings in the court. If the tenant(s) do not leave the property by the date specified on the notice, the landlord can simply instruct a High Court Enforcement Officer to attend the property and evict the tenants.
These provisions will only allow a landlord to end an AST if all of the occupiers of the property are disqualified.
Section 8 Notice – new Ground 7B
Where not all of the occupiers are disqualified the landlord of a property can rely on the new Ground 7B when serving a Section 8 Notice.
The new ground 7B is a mandatory ground for possession and therefore the court must grant an order for possession of the landlord can evidence that the ground is made out. The minimum notice period required in the Section 8 Notice will be two weeks.
The ground will apply where the Secretary of State has given notice in writing to the landlord identifying that their tenant(s) or occupier(s) are disqualified from occupying the property as a result of their immigration status. The ground can be used where not all of the tenants or occupiers are disqualified.
The landlord can use this new ground during the fixed term of the AST, and the 7B ground does not have to be included as a possible ground within the terms of the AST.
If you have any questions, please dont hesitate to
Laura Albon has been working in litigation for nearly 10 years. She works almost exclusively with property investors and agents across the whole country. She trained with the partners of Helix Law and has extensive experience in possession, service charge recovery, breach of covenant and commercial contract claims. She is able to pursue matters through the court and through The First Tier Tribunal (formerly the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal or LVT).
This article is written to raise awareness of the issues it discusses and it may not be updated after it is first written, even if the law changes. It is not intended to be legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. Helix Law is not responsible or liable for any action taken or not taken as a result of this article. If you think the matters set out affect you and you wish to apply them to your particular circumstances then we are happy to give you free initial telephone advice