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Landlords: What is the difference between a Section 8 and a Section 21

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Thu 07 Apr 2022

Landlords: What is the difference between a Section 8 and a Section 21

Renting can be a rewarding experience for most landlords, but there are occasions when you need to reclaim possession of your property. There are 3 main ways this can happen.

Tenant gives notice
Section 8
Section 21

If a tenant gives notice this means that they no longer need to live in your property, and there will be an end date for their tenancy. Because this request has come from them, you won’t need to do much apart from find a new tenant to occupy the property after your current tenant has moved out. Once they have moved out, you are then back in posession.

Section 8

Sometimes, you will want to intervene and have the tenant removed from your property. You can use section 8 for the following reasons:

If the house is being repossessed by the mortgage lender
Terms of the tenancy have been breached (this also includes arrears)
Damaged to the property due to neglect or negligence of someone else living with them.
Illegal activities
Causing nuisance to neighbours
Tenant has given false information to secure the rental

How to serve a section 8

To serve a section 8 you must first fill in the “Tenancy form 3: notice seeking possession of a property let on an assured tenancy or an assured agricultural occupancy” and specify on the form which terms of tenancy they have broken. Once you have given this to your tenant you must give them a notice period stating a date they must leave by. Currently, you have to give your tenant two months’ notice for the tenant to vacate the property.

If the tenant does not leave by the stated date you can then apply for a court possession order.

Section 21

You can use section 21 after the fixed tenancy ends or during a tenancy with no fixed term (a periodic tenancy). This notice should be used when the tenant is not at fault and has not broken
the agreement.

However, in England there are a few clauses as to when you aren’t able to use a section 21 notice.

If the tenancy is less than 4 months old or the fixed term has not ended.
Property is characterised as (house of multiple occupancies) HMO but does not have a proper licence.
You have not put the tenant’s deposit in the tenant’s deposit scheme (for tenancies starting after 2007).
You have not used form 6a or provided a letter with the same information and the tenancy started after October 2015.
The council has served an improvement notice on your property in the last 6 months.
the council has served an emergency works notice on your property in the last 6 months.
you have not repaid any unlawful fees or deposits that you charged the tenant.

For a section 21 notice, you have to give 2 months notice for the tenant to leave your property. You should also keep a record of you giving notice either by writing “Served by [your name] on [date] on your notice or by filling in the ‘certification of service form (N215).’

It’s not just as simple as filling in a form though, there are very specific requirements for serving notice including ensuring everything was in order at the beginning of the tenancy. If you are serving either of these notices it’s advised to seek legal advice so that you give notice in the proper way allowing you to regain possession of your property without delay.