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Gaining Possession of the Property...

Under normal circumstances, a Landlord would normally look to take back possession of a property at the end of a fixed term tenancy agreement (or during a statutory periodic tenancy) by serving – details of which are listed in our “Ending the Tenancy” section.

However, should a Landlord wish to take back possession of the property whilst in tenancy, then this would usually be because the Tenant has made a serious breach of the terms of the tenancy agreement. This is called a Section 8 Notice. Such a notice will advise the Tenant why the Landlord is seeking possession and give the statutory time frame in which the Tenant must either address the breach of Tenancy or leave the property.

When issuing a Section 8 notice, the Landlord has to list Grounds under which the Tenant has breached the Tenancy Agreement. Such grounds for possession fall into two categories: mandatory, where the tenant will definitely be ordered to leave if the Landlord can prove breach of contract, and discretionary, where the court can decide one way or the other.

Mandatory Grounds for Possession:

Ground 1 - This ground can be used where a landlord (or his spouse) has occupied the dwelling as his only or principle home at some time, and having given notice of his intention to return, now wishes to do so. Successors in title may also use this ground provided they did not purchase the dwelling.

Ground 2 - This ground is used by a mortgage wishing to gain vacant possession in order to exercise a power of sale. Notice will need to have been given to the tenant. The mortgage must have been taken out before the tenancy began and the tenant warned about this contingency within the tenancy agreement.

Ground 3 - This ground applies to premises which within the last 12 months have been the used as holiday lets and have currently been let on a fixed term of up to 8 months, usually for the winter period. Notice must have been served that the property is to be returned to holiday let use, usually for the summer period.

Ground 4 - This ground applies to student accommodation owned by educational institutions.

Ground 5 - This ground applies to properties owned by religious bodies.

Ground 6 - This ground is similar to one established in commercial leases (Landlord and Tenant Act 1954) where recovery of possession is allowed where a landlord wishes to demolished or substantial reconstruct or redevelop the building.

Ground 7 - This ground concerns inherited or succession rights to a tenancy.

Ground 8 - This ground has been changed by the Housing Act 1996 and concerns arrears of rent. Arrears must exceed 8 weeks if the rent is paid weekly or fortnightly, 2 months if paid monthly.

Discretionary Grounds for Possession:

Ground 9 - The Landlord seeks possession because he has offered the tenant suitable alternative accommodation.

Ground 10 - This ground covers arrears of rent being in arrears less than the times specified in mandatory ground 8.

Ground 11 - This ground covers persistent delays in rent payment.

Ground 12 - This ground covers tenant’s in breach of their contractual (lease or tenancy) agreement conditions, other than rent payments.

Ground 13 - This ground covers waste, neglect or default concerning damage to the tenant’s accommodation or common parts.

Ground 14 - The Landlord can seek possession where a tenant, sub-tenant, lodger or visitor is causing a nuisance to neighbours or is using the property for illegal or immoral purposes.

Ground 15 - This ground covers cases where landlord’s furniture has been ill-treated.

Ground 16 - This ground covers cases where the tenant was an employee of the landlord and has since left his employ.

Ground 17 - This final ground covers cases where the tenancy has been created as a result of a false statement knowingly having been made by the tenant or someone acting on his behalf.

Usually, for issues such as none payment of rent, then the Section 8 notice will give the Tenant two weeks to pay the outstanding balance, however with some of the other Grounds, a minimium of two months notice has to be served on the Tenant.

Should the Tenant not either leave the property or rectify the breach, then the next process would be to seek a court possession order.