I’ve received a Section 8 or Section 21 Notice – What do I do now?
30th May 2017
If you are a tenant and have received a Section 8 or Section 21 notice, it must be in the prescribed form and not simply via letter. If the notice is not in the format required then it is invalid and it is likely the landlord’s claim for possession will fail. It is therefore vital that you check the validity of the notice when it is received.
Have you received a Section 21 notice?
This is a notice that the landlord wants his property back. It is not necessarily stating that you have done anything wrong or that you have breached the tenancy agreement in any way.
Depending on when the tenancy began, the landlord should not serve a notice within the first 4 months of the fixed term. If he does, it will not be valid.
There are a number of things the landlord has to have done in order to send a section 21 notice and if they have not done so the notice is likely to be invalid. If your tenancy started on or after 1 October 2015 you should check whether the landlord has:
- Protected your deposit in a registered scheme within the necessary timescales. The timescales vary depending on when the tenancy started but it will be either 14 or 30 days from the date you paid the deposit.
- Provided you with the relevant information about the scheme within the timescales above.
- Provided you with an Energy Performance Certificate. This should be done at the beginning of the tenancy but can be done later as long as it is before the s21 notice is sent to you.
- Provide you with the How to Rent handbook.
- Provided a gas safety certificate, if relevant.
- Fitted smoke alarms on every floor which have been checked and work at the outset of the tenancy.
- Fitted carbon monoxide alarms in every room with a solid fuel burning source and that they have been checked and are working at the outset of the tenancy.
- Has obtained a licence when a licence is required.
The landlord cannot send you a section 21 notice if you have made a complaint in writing about the condition of the property, they have failed to respond, you have made a complaint to the Local Authority and the Local Authority have served a notice in respect of the property. This would have to have taken place prior to you receiving the s21 notice.
If you believe the notice is invalid you can inform the landlord and he will likely either do what is necessary to rectify the issue and then re-serve the notice (which will give you extra time in the property) or will ignore you and issue a claim. If the landlord issues a claim then you should respond to the claim in the way stated on the court documents and inform the court that the notice is invalid. Again, this is only likely to buy you time as, if the court strikes out the landlord’s claim, the landlord is likely to rectify the issue and then serve a new notice.
In reality you are unlikely to defeat the s21 notice forever; therefore, you should investigate other options available (see below).
Have you received a Section 8 Notice?
This is usually for a breach of the tenancy agreement but can be because the landlord wants the property back for his own use. The notice will state on which ground or grounds the landlord is relying. Check your tenancy agreement – there should be a clause in there stating which grounds the landlord is entitled to rely on. If the ground in the notice is not stated in the tenancy agreement then the notice is likely to be invalid. If this is the case the landlord will probably not be able to rectify this but in certain circumstances can ask the court to ignore the need for a notice.
It may be that you can rectify the breach. For example, if the notice relies only on ground 8 for rent arrears and you pay enough to bring the arrears below 2 months’ before the court hearing then the court cannot grant possession.
There are many considerations depending on the grounds relied on. Please contact one of our landlord and tenant specialists for advice on your specific situation.
If you accept what is said in the notice then you should take steps to find alternative accommodation. If you are in a position to rent privately then make the relevant enquires with local agents and landlords; if you are not able to rent privately take your s21 notice to your local council and explain that you need to be rehoused. Different councils take different approaches but the earlier to notify them of an issue the better.