What are the differences between a Section 8 and Section 21 (Form 6a) notice?

A Section 21 (Form 6a) notice is used to evict tenants in a no-fault eviction, meaning the landlord wants to use the property for his or her personal use. A Section 8 eviction notice is the notice required in order to begin eviction proceedings for at-fault tenants. Once the landlord has commenced this process and completed the information required on the notice, he or she must ensure all information provided is accurate. If there are any errors, the court will delay the process and wait until any required corrections are completed. The grounds for issuing a Section 8 eviction notice is usually late payment or non-payment of rent, damage done to the property, unsociable behaviour and subletting to other people. There are both mandatory grounds and discretionary grounds.

In order to evict a tenant using Section 8, the landlord needs to quote one of the eight mandatory grounds as listed below:

  1. The landlord wants the property back to be used as his or her own main residence. This can only be cited if you have used the property as your main residence before you decided to let it to tenants.
  2. The mortgage lender for the property has submitted a notice of foreclosure.
  3. The property was at an earlier date used as a holiday let and the landlord wants to resume this status for the property.
  4. An educational institution owns the property and has been letting it and now wants it back for students to use.
  5. A religious body owns the rental property and wants it to be used by a church member, such as a minister.
  6. The landlord decides he or she wants to demolish the property and undertake reconstruction work, so as to redevelop all or some of the property. For this to be considered acceptable for possession, the current tenant has to have refused to reside in all or some of the property during the work. If the landlord is granted possession under this ground, the landlord is required to provide money to the tenant for his or her moving costs.
  7. The present tenant is a tenant heir and was not named on the tenancy agreement to begin with. The landlord will need to serve a Section 8 notice up to 12 months after the named tenant’s death.
  8. The tenant has not paid more than eight weeks' rent if paying on a weekly basis, two months' rent if paying on a monthly basis or one quarter's rent if paying on a quarterly basis.

Discretionary grounds are listed as 9 to 17, as outlined below. When the landlord is trying to claim possession under discretionary grounds, it is suggested that more than one ground is cited because if the tenant decides to pay off part of any rent arrears just before the day of the hearing, this ground cannot be used and the possession proceeding will end.

It is common practice to highlight more than one ground for rent arrears, which are grounds 8, 10 and 11, if these are applicable and to wait until at least two months’ rent (or eight weeks' rent with a weekly tenancy) has not been paid before the Section 8 notice is issued. The discretionary grounds are as follows:

9. The landlord has offered suitable similar accommodation and quality to the tenant and it has been rejected. The landlord is required to pay reasonable removal costs if granted possession.

10. The tenant is overdue with his or her rental payments but in the case of weekly payment only by eight weeks, two months for monthly payments and one quarter for quarterly payments.

11. The tenant is constantly late with rental payments and often fails to pay any rent until prompted to do so.

12. The tenant has clearly broken any terms found in the tenancy agreement.

13. The tenant has damaged or neglected the rental property, or he or she has sub-let the property to someone else who has damaged or neglected the property.

14. The tenant has behaved in anti-social ways towards neighbours, and complaints have been lodged concerning this conduct.

15. The tenant has damaged, lost or sold furniture and fittings on the property.

16. The property was let out to the tenant as a condition of their employment but the employment has now come to an end.

17. The rental property was let out based on false information the tenant provided, including information given by the tenant’s referee or guarantor.

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