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  • Writer's pictureElliot Leigh

Section 21 and Section 8 Notices: Understanding the tenancy laws

Renting a property involves a complex web of legal obligations for both landlords and tenants. So much so, that a new legislation The Renter's Reform Bill has been in progress for years. This long-awaited legislation contains a range of changes designed to better support and reinforce the rights of tenants, leaving landlords feeling overlooked.

With one of the main changes of the new legislation said to affect how Landlord's evict their tenants, we take a look at the two most common legal processes that landlords can use to regain possession of their properties - Section 21 and Section 8 notices.

While both notices serve the purpose of eviction, they operate under different circumstances and have distinct requirements. In this blog post, we will delve into the details, outlining their differences and helping landlords and tenants understand their rights and responsibilities.

Section 21 Notice

A Section 21 notice, also known as a "no-fault eviction" or "notice of possession," is commonly used by landlords to regain possession of their property without providing a specific reason. This notice can be served at any time during the tenancy, and the landlord is not required to establish any fault on the part of the tenant. However, specific conditions must be met:

  1. Fixed-term tenancy: A Section 21 notice can only be served after the fixed term of the tenancy has ended, or during a periodic tenancy (i.e., tenancy that runs on a rolling basis after the fixed term expires).

  2. Written notice: The notice must be given in writing, specifying the date by which the tenant is expected to vacate the property (usually two months from the date of the notice).

  3. Proper documentation: The tenant must have been provided with a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and Gas Safety Certificate before the tenancy began.

  4. Compliance with deposit protection regulations: The landlord must have protected the tenant's deposit in a government-approved deposit protection scheme and provided the prescribed information to the tenant within the required timeframe.

Section 8 Notice:

A Section 8 notice is used when a landlord seeks to evict a tenant due to a breach of the tenancy agreement or certain other specific reasons. Unlike a Section 21 notice, a Section 8 notice requires a valid ground for eviction. Some of the common grounds for issuing a Section 8 notice include:

  1. Rent arrears: If the tenant has failed to pay the rent owed.

  2. Breach of tenancy agreement: If the tenant has violated any terms of the tenancy agreement.

  3. Damage to the property: If the tenant has caused significant damage to the property.

  4. Anti-social behaviour: If the tenant has engaged in behaviour that disturbs neighbours or causes nuisance.

  5. Illegal activities: If the tenant is involved in illegal activities within the property.

When serving a Section 8 notice, the landlord must clearly specify the grounds for eviction and follow the correct legal procedures. The notice period for a Section 8 notice can vary depending on the grounds for eviction.

Key Differences:

  1. Grounds for eviction: Section 21 notices do not require any specific reason, while Section 8 notices must be based on a valid ground for eviction.

  2. Notice periods: Section 21 notices typically require a notice period of two months, while the notice period for a Section 8 notice may vary depending on the grounds used.

  3. Court proceedings: If a tenant fails to vacate the property after the specified notice period, landlords must apply to the court for a possession order in both cases. However, Section 8 notices generally involve a court hearing to establish the validity of the grounds, whereas Section 21 notices can proceed without a hearing.

Conclusion: Understanding the distinctions between Section 21 and Section 8 notices is crucial for both landlords and tenants. While Section 21 notices provide a no-fault eviction option for landlords, Section 8 notices require valid grounds for eviction. It is essential for landlords to adhere to the legal procedures, including providing the required documentation

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