Claims for Possession: The section 8 Notice

There are two main routes for obtaining possession of assured and assured shorthold tenancies:

The purpose of this factsheet is to briefly explain the section 8 routefor tenancies in England and how to complete the corresponding notice.

Background:

Where a landlord wishes to get possession from an assured (or assured shorthold) tenant before the fixed term has come to an end (e.g. due to default by non-payment of rent), he must serve notice of his intention to seek possession.

This procedure and notice operate under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988, and, for this reason, we refer to it as the section 8 route and section 8 notice respectively. Briefly, the requirements of section 8 are:

  • the landlord or, in the case of joint landlords, at least one of them, has served on the tenant a notice in accordance with this section and the proceedings are begun within the time-limits prescribed in the Act and stated on the notice
  • the notice must be given in the prescribed form – available from legal stationers, or from our website
  • the notice must specify grounds why the landlord requires possession.

The Act provides a set of grounds which a landlord may use to recover possession under section 8. The landlord is required to specify in the notice which ground he intends to use, and also to give particulars of the ground which applies, to support his claim.

Due to the legal uncertainty caused by unclear and last-minute changes made by the Government to the Section 8 Form 3 notice in the past the Letting Centre are unable to supply a version of the section 8 notice.  Since 2020, the only way for landlords and agents to use the correct ‘official form’ with some certainty is by downloading the latest form from the Government website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/assured-tenancy-forms.   Many legal experts disagree with the validity of versions produced by external providers and will only accept the Government version as being valid.  This is not an ideal situation when the success of a possession action can be determined by a dispute over the standard wording of the possession notice and is further compounded by current practice where the Government give little or no notice of the introduction of a new version of the prescribed form – hence making previous versions invalid. 

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