Landlords with tenants in rent arrears want to move quickly to evict. The starting point is serving a “section 8” notice on the tenant, imaginatively named after the appropriate part of the Housing Act 1988. Most tenancy agreements are on a monthly basis, and here the notice period for the tenant to leave following a section 8 notice is two weeks. This is a lot quicker than the two month period for the normal eviction notice under section 21.
Most Assured Shorthold tenancy agreements are on a monthly basis. If the tenant owes two months or more of rent arrears both at the date the section 8 notice is served and at the date of the Court hearing, a Judge has to make an order for possession in favour of the landlord. The Judge has no discretion, which is very useful to the landlord.
If the tenant manages to pay enough of the rent arrears to bring the arrears below two months by the date of the Court hearing, the order is not mandatory and it is down to the Judge’s discretion. In these circumstances, many Judges will be tempted to adjourn the case at least once to give the tenant a chance to pay off the rent arrears and stay in the property. This delays the landlord’s repossession and adds to the potential costs involved.
This can be a particular issue if the landlord sends the section 8 notice just at the point that the rent arrears accumulate to two months. Landlords cannot generally refuse to receive rent from tenants and they will need to consider the risks involved in issuing a claim for a possession order at the County Court if the rent arrears are two months in amount or just over.
Please contact me at Biscoes Solicitors on 023 9266 0261 if you need advice about Landlord and Tenant Law.