Section 8/21 – Getting it right

Despite the current assault on Section 21, it’s still worth a recap on how the eviction process works. If procedures aren’t followed correctly there are all sorts of delays and issues which can prolong the landlord’s misery and cost more money to sort. You can even be found guilty of harassing your tenants or evicting them illegally.

We’ve been handling both types of eviction process for our clients for years and to us, it’s clear and straightforward, but it always helps if landlords and agents are also up to speed and know what to expect. Please note these details relate to England and Wales only.

What’s the difference between Section 8 and Section 21?

Firstly, both apply to assured shorthold tenancies (AST’s).

A Section 8 notice should be used where tenants haven’t kept to the terms of the tenancy.

A Section 21 notice should be used after a fixed-term tenancy ends or if it’s a periodic tenancy with no end date. Section 21 is often called the no-fault option and requires that you give your tenants a minimum of two months’ notice.

The process for issuing a Section 21 notice

In England use form 6a.

In Wales, give the tenant written notice that you are serving a Section 21 notice under the provisions of the Housing Act 1998.

In both England and Wales, keep documentation to support this. The Government’s form N215 will serve this purpose.

Restrictions on issuing Section 21 notices

There are certain restrictions on using Section 21 to regain possession of your property as follows:

The process for issuing a Section 8/21 notice

Depending on the terms of the tenancy agreement that have been broken, the notice period varies between two weeks and two months. If the tenant does not leave by the date specified on the notice, you can seek an accelerated possession order if no rent is outstanding or a standard possession order if they owe you rent. If the tenant still remains in your property, you will need to get a warrant for possession which permits bailiffs to remove the tenants.

Getting it right

With all the different rules, dates, clauses and jargon, getting your property back within your possession can seem like a daunting task. Some tenants have made an art form of sitting tight, exploiting every possible reason why they should not move on, but like everything else, it’s best to take a step-by-step organised approach. Start with understanding which form of AST you have in place. Check the dates to see which restrictions apply to you. Keep evidence and stick within the law yourself.  Many of the restrictions that prevent the use of Section 21 apply only if landlords haven’t carried out their original obligations.

If you need help, of course, you can always ask our Legal Services team for support. We know how to speed the process of eviction and our expertise and fixed-fee services make handling the cases where tenants are unwilling to budge much less of an ordeal.