Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 specifies under Schedule 2, Ground 1, a means of recovering possession of a residential rental property let on an Assured Tenancy (AT) or an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) but this only applies after the fixed-term has ended during the statutory periodic terms. See Housing Act 1988 Schedule 2, Ground 1 and s7(6)(a).
The ground 1 notice is largely redundant for the AST and more appropriate for a Assured Tenancy (AT), not the Assured Shorthold Tenancy, as the section 21 notice does the same thing.
Ground 1 is a mandatory ground but requires the same notice as the s21 notice – minimum of 2 months.
These guidelines are based on English law and are not a definitive interpretation of the law, every case is different and only a court can decide, so if in doubt seek expert advice.
Ground 1 Prior Notification Notice
Possession can be recovered providing that (1) the landlord had lived in the property as his or her main home prior, and (2) he served on the tenant a notice (Ground 1 Prior Notification Notice) advising the tenant/s that the landlord may need to recover possession early.
This Prior Notification must be made before the tenants sign their tenancy agreement.
In fact, in this matter the courts have some discretion, so in exceptional circumstances, where a landlord lived in the property prior to the tenancy, and they can show exceptional hardship on the landlord’s part, and better circumstances for the tenant, the courts have been known to issue a possession order without the Ground 1 Prior Notification.
Ground 1 is a mandatory ground, which means that providing the conditions have been met in full the court must issue a possession order.
Therefore, if the landlord has lived in the property prior to the tenancy and may wish to return, it’s a good idea to serve a Section 8, Ground 1 Prior Notification Notice before the tenancy agreement is signed.
This is best done immediately prior to serving the tenancy agreement with an explanation to the tenant that this may occur. The tenants should be issued with the Prior Notification and the landlord has them sign a second copy, which the landlord retains.
If the Ground needs to be invoked, the landlord serves a section 8, ground 1 notice on the tenant which gives the tenants a 2-month notice period. However, this notice cannot expire within a fixed-term period. Housing Act 1988 s7(6)(a)
Given the long notice period and court schedule waiting times, it is likely to be at least 3 months before the tenant can be removed, even in a best case scenario.
Ground One – A Mandatory Possession Ground – 2 Months’ Notice Required.
Housing Act 1988, Section 8, Schedule 2, Ground 1
Not later than the beginning of the tenancy the landlord gave notice in writing to the tenant that possession might be recovered on this ground or the court is of the opinion that it is just and equitable to dispense with the requirement of notice and (in either case):
(a) at some time before the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord who is seeking possession or, in the case of joint landlords seeking possession, at least one of them occupied the dwelling-house as his only or principal home; or
(b) the landlord who is seeking possession or, in the case of joint landlords seeking possession, at least one of them requires the dwelling-house as his or his spouse’s only or principal home and neither the landlord (or, in the case of joint landlords, any one of them) nor any other person who, as landlord, derived title under the landlord who gave the notice mentioned above acquired the reversion on the tenancy for money or money’s worth.
Ground 1 Prior Notification Notice: www.landlordzone.co.uk/documents
Section 8 Notices: www.landlordzone.co.uk/documents
Section 8, Grounds for Possession: www.landlordzone.co.uk/information/grounds-for-possession
By Tom Entwistle, LandlordZONE®
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©LandlordZONE All Rights Reserved – never rely totally on these general guidelines which apply primarily to England and Wales. They are not definitive statements of the law. Before taking action or not, always do your own research and/or seek professional advice with the full facts of your case and all documents to hand.