Property Investors Blog

Renters’ Reform: Section 8 Proposed Changes

We shared our response to the Renters’ Reform White Paper recently, you can see it here.

Since writing that blog I’ve received some questions about the ways in which landlords will be able to evict tenants after section 21 notices are abolished.

Section 8 notices will be the only way to evict tenants, they currently include a mixture of mandatory and discretionary grounds to enable landlords to take possession of their property through the courts.  If a mandatory ground is proved, the court must give possession to the landlord. If a discretionary ground is proved, the court will not necessarily give possession to the landlord. They will only do so if they think it is ‘just and reasonable’ (fair) to do so. You can see a full list of the current grounds for possession here.

The White Paper suggests than many of the discretionary grounds will become mandatory meaning that ‘landlords can have certainty that the grounds will be met when going to court” and that “judges must grant possession if the landlord can prove that the ground has been met.”.

What if the landlord wants to live in the property?

Ground 1 (mandatory), allows landlords to take possession of their property if they have previously lived in the property as their only or principal home, and having given notice (prior to the tenant moving in), now wish to return to the property to live.  This is only for the landlord themselves, and can’t be applied for their children or family members etc.

What if the landlord wants to sell the property?

Currently there are no grounds for eviction based on the wish of a landlord to sell the property, however the government plans to introduce a new section 8 ground to enable them to evict tenants if they want to sell the property; this can’t be within the first six months’ of a tenancy.

What if the tenant is repeatedly in serious arrears?

Currently, landlords can use the mandatory ground 8 to evict a tenant who is in more than 8 weeks’ rent arrears a the time of the court date; in practice tenants in this situation will pay just enough so that are in less than 8 weeks’ rent at the point of the court hearing meaning landlords then have to rely on the discretionary grounds (10 and 11).

The government intends to add a mandatory ground that will mean a tenant is evicted if  they have been in at least two months’ rent arrears three times within the previous three years, regardless of the arrears balance at hearing.


We’ll find out more detail when the draft legislation is published, but if you haven’t already, please read our blog regarding the consequences for the student rental market, and write to your local MP.

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