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Want to return to live in your rented-out property?

buy to let mortgages


During the presenthealth crisis, with everyone on virtual lock-down, new lettings areon hold, but when normality resumes, as it surely will, people willwant to let out their own homes on a temporary basis.

Whether for extendedtravel or working away, there is a little known way of letting whichensures landlords can reclaim possession of their properties safelyat the end of the term '� known as ground 1. It applies where theletting has been your main residence and you are returning to occupyit yourself, or where it was not your main residence before but thatyou intent to live there now.

There has been muchtalk of a change in the law which would mean that the existingshorthold regime would be replaced by something equating to an openended tenancy, but don't worry, this won't happen for at least acouple of years and given the current crisis, perhaps even longer.

This article isbased on English law and is not a definitive statement orinterpretation of the law; rules change and every case is different '�only a court can decide. Other jurisdictions are similar but thereare important differences. Always seek expert advice before making ornot making decisions.

Ground 1 comes under section 8 of the Housing Act 1988 and appears in schedule 2

In order to apply this clause two things need to happen: (1) your tenancy agreement should include a clause referring to ground 1 and that this may be involved, and (2) the tenant, prior to the start of the tenancy, must be served a notice explaining ground 1 and stating that the letting is on the basis that ground one may be invoked. Of course you need to keep a copy and get proof that the tenant received it, ideally a signature.

Ground 1 (Section 8,Schedule 2, Housing Act 1988) states:

Not later thanthe beginning of the tenancy the landlord gave notice in writing tothe tenant that possession might be recovered on this ground or thecourt is of the opinion that it is just and equitable to dispensewith the requirement of notice and (in either case):

(a) at some timebefore the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord who is seekingpossession or, in the case of joint landlords seeking possession, atleast one of them occupied the dwelling-house as his only orprincipal home; or

(b) the landlordwho is seeking possession or, in the case of joint landlords seekingpossession, at least one of them requires the dwelling-house as (his,his spouse's or his civil partner's) only or principal home andneither the landlord (or, in the case of joint landlords, any one ofthem) nor any other person who, as landlord, derived title under thelandlord who gave the notice mentioned above acquired the reversionon the tenancy for money or money's worth.

Notice requiringpossession:

Ground 1 is amandatory ground, which means that providing the conditions have beenmet in full the court must issue a possession order '� it requiresthe same notice period as a s21 notice '� minimum of 2 months.

Ground 1 no PriorNotification Notice

In this matter thecourts have some discretion, so in exceptional circumstances, where alandlord lived in the property prior to the tenancy, and they canshow exceptional hardship on the landlord's part, and bettercircumstances for the tenant, the courts have been known to issue apossession order without the Ground 1 Prior Notification.

Involking Ground1

If Ground 1 needs tobe invoked, the landlord serves a section 8, ground 1 notice on thetenant which gives the tenants a 2-month notice period. However, thisnotice cannot expire within a fixed-term period. Housing Act 1988s7(6)(a)

Given the longnotice period and court schedule waiting times, it is likely to be atleast 3 months before the tenant can be removed, even in a best casescenario so returning landlords should plan for this.


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