Kiteleys Solicitors

Kiteleys Solicitors. 7 St. Stephen's Court, 15-17 St. Stephen's Road, Bournemouth, Dorset. BH2 6LA. Telephone 01425 278866.
Kiteleys Solicitors is the trading style of Kiteleys Solicitors Limited registered in England and Wales, registered number 03113721. VAT Registration No: 658 8813 79.
This firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of directors is available for inspection at our registered office.

Section 8 Possession Claims – A powerful tool but comes with a health warning

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The possession procedure under Section 8 of the Housing Acts 1988 & 1996 is a fault based system. If your tenant is in breach of the tenancy you can seek possession under the 8 mandatory and 9 discretionary grounds.

 

One of the most powerful aspects of this route is that you can use this procedure to end a tenancy during the fixed term. Unlike the S21 route, there is no requirement for the fixed term to have ended before beginning proceedings. Once the correct notice has been served, and the notice period expired, you can begin court proceedings for possession.

 

The Section 8 notice needs to lay out which of the grounds you are relying on and give the correct notice period. For some grounds, the notice period can be as little as 2 weeks. This, again, gives you a considerable time advantage over the S21 approach which requires 2 months or longer.  In some instances, e.g nuisance to neighbours or using the property for illegal or immoral purposes, you do not even need to wait for the notice to expire.

 

Regardless of whether you choose to go to court, a S8 notice is a great tool to bring a tenant in default into line. The notice will be valid for 1 year and, for this entire period, will be hanging over the tenant. Once served, the tenant is on notice that there has been a breach of contract and you have resolved to take things further if need be.

 

So if: the notice period is generally shorter, this route can be used to end a tenancy halfway through and it can be used as a show of authority from the landlord, where is the drawback?

 

The danger comes from the fact that the Section 8 procedure is a breach of contract court action. This brings with it 3 major issues:

 

Burden of proof. As the action is fault based, you will need to prove that the tenant is in breach. Compare this to the S21 procedure where there is no such requirement

 

Counterclaims and Defences. The nature of this procedure is such that it allows a counterclaim to be raised or a defence entered. Again, this is in stark contrast to the S21 procedure where a tenant simply does not have these options.

 

Costs. Once the wheels of court action have been put in motion, you must see it through to the end. If your tenant decides to defend the case or brings a counter claim and this leads you to withdraw the claim, you must pay the defendants costs. If you lose the case, all the costs could fall to you.

 

All of these risks can be managed with the help of sound legal advice. When a landlord comes to us, we look at the situation as a whole and suggest which option might be best for you. Rather than the ‘a one size fits all’ approach taken by some possession services, we tailor our advice to the facts of each case giving you the best service possible.

  • George Crofts

    George Crofts
    Solicitor

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Talk to one of our solicitors

At Kiteleys we are always happy to help. We believe that the law should be easily accessible, so if you have any questions for our landlord and tenant solicitors please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Call us on 01425 278866 or enquire online.

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Kiteleys Solicitors. 40 Haven Road, Canford Cliffs, Poole, Dorset. BH13 7LP. Telephone 01425 278866.
Kiteleys Solicitors is the trading style of Kiteleys Solicitors Limited registered in England and Wales, registered number 03113721. VAT Registration No: 658 8813 79.
This firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of directors is available for inspection at our registered office.