As a Landlord of residential property, you may find you let your property to a number of tenants over the years. Ideally, you will find good tenants who pay the rent on time and keep the property in good repair. However, what can you do if you find yourself in a position where you have bad tenants and want to repossess the property? What are the grounds for possession?
There are two different notices that can be served on a tenant occupying under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement: a s21 notice or a s8 notice. A s21 notice gives a tenant two months’ notice to vacate the property, and can be served as long as the tenancy is not in the fixed term.
If the tenancy is still within the fixed term, or you want to obtain possession quicker, you may be able to serve a s8 notice.
Section 8 notice
A s8 notice gives a tenant notice that the landlord requires the property back for a specific reason. There are set reasons (known as grounds) on which a landlord can serve a s8 notice. Each of the grounds for possession require different periods of notice to be given. If the tenant does not vacate the property at the end of the notice period, you will need to issue possession proceedings.
The Court will then look at which grounds for possession you have used, and whether the circumstances satisfy that ground. In some cases, if you have satisfied the Court that the ground for possession is made out, the Court will have no discretion, and will have to make a possession order. In other cases, the Court has a discretion whether to order possession or not.
Grounds for possession
There are over 20 different Grounds for Possession, and we will look at the most common grounds.
Ground for possession
Mandatory or discretionary?
Minimum notice period
2. Mortgage Company requires possession of the property because of mortgage arrears.
7A. The tenant has been convicted of a serious offence around the house or breached an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction.
Or, the house has been subject to a closure order.
Or, the tenant has been convicted of statutory noise nuisance
8. Rent is unpaid at the time of the service of the s8 notice and at the date of the hearing, if the rent is paid:
· weekly or fortnightly, at least 8 weeks’ rent is unpaid.
· monthly, at least 2 months’ rent is unpaid.
· quarterly, at least 1 quarter’s rent is more than 3 months in arrears.
· yearly, at least 3 months’ rent is more than 3 months in arrears.
10. Rent was unpaid when the s8 notice was served and has not been paid by the time possession proceedings are begun.
11. Tenant has persistently delayed paying rent.
12. Any obligation of the tenancy (other than non-payment of rent) has been broken or not performed.
13. Tenant has allowed the property or parts of it (including common parts) to deteriorate.
14. Tenant has caused a nuisance or annoyance to neighbours or the landlord, or has been convicted of using the property for immoral or illegal purposes, or has been convicted of an arrestable offence committed in the area of the property
As soon as the notice has been served
15. Tenant has caused the condition of any furniture at the property to deteriorate.
Within your notice, and then later should possession proceedings be required, within a witness statement, you will need to prove that you have satisfied the terms of the Grounds on which you are relying. It is important therefore, that you try to keep a note of the issues experienced. For example, keep a good note of rent payments, and the accruing arrears; a diary of any anti-social behaviour; a diary of visits you have had to make to the property to repair furniture or redecorate because of the tenant’s actions.