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Notices: Assured tenancies

This content applies to England

A landlord must serve a notice of seeking possession (NSP) on an assured tenant before applying to the court for a possession order.

For further information about the the procedure for getting possession of a property let on an assured tenancy see the section Ending an assured tenancy.

Form and content

A landlord must first serve a notice of intention to bring proceedings on the tenant.[1] This is commonly called NSP or 'section 8' notice.

An NSP must:

  • be in the prescribed form, or in a form substantially to the same effect[2]
  • specify the ground(s) on which possession is being sought[3]
  • set out the 'particulars' of the ground, ie explaining why the ground is being relied upon.

If insufficient particulars are given, then the possession claim should be struck out.[4] A landlord can ask for permission to add to or alter the particulars, but permission will only be given where it would be just and equitable to do so.[5] If the particulars are inaccurate (eg a landlord states a rent arrears figure that is later conceded to have been wrong) the court can allow the claim to proceed or the particulars to be amended.[6]

Service

A landlord is not required to serve the NSP in any particular way. In the event the tenant does not acknowledge service, a landlord must prove that the NSP was served. 

Section 196 of the Law of Property Act 1925 allows for valid service of the NSP to be made by registered post or recorded delivery, or personal delivery to the tenant's property, but only when the tenancy agreement explicitly states that service will be effective where it is done in accordance with section 196. Alternatively, the agreement can provide expressly for service by these methods.[7]

Notice period

The NSP must state a date after which court proceedings can start:[8]

  • for grounds 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 16 – the date specified must be at least two months after service (or a period equivalent to the contractual period of the tenancy, if longer)
  • for ground 14 – court proceedings for claims can start immediately. An NSP served under ground 14 must state that court proceedings may be started immediately and give a date when the landlord requires the tenant to leave the property[9]
  • for all other grounds (except 7A) – the date specified must be at least two weeks after service.

Specific requirements when using mandatory ASB ground 7A

When possession is sought under the mandatory antisocial behaviour (ASB) ground 7A, the NSP must:

  • set out details of the conviction, order, or finding on which the landlord wants to rely to show the condition is met[10]
  • specify the date after which court proceedings can start, which must be:[11]
    • at least four weeks after the service of the NSP (or one month in case of a fixed-term tenancy), and
    • the first or last day of the period of the tenancy (unless the tenancy agreement says otherwise).

Time limits for the service

The time limits for the service of the NSP on the tenant vary according to which condition is being relied upon:[12]

  • for condition 1 (conviction of serious offence), condition 3 (breach of a criminal behaviour order), or condition 5 (noise nuisance) –  the NSP must be served within 12 months of the date of conviction, or if appropriate within 12 months of an appeal being decided or abandoned
  • for condition 2 (breach of an injunction to prevent nuisance or annoyance) –  the NSP must be served within 12 months of the date the court found the injunction had been breached, or if appropriate within 12 months of an appeal being decided, abandoned or withdrawn
  • for condition 4 (closure order) –  the NSP must be served on the tenant within 3 months of the date the closure order was made, or if appropriate within 3 months of an appeal being decided, abandoned or withdrawn.

For more information about Ground 7A see the page Mandatory ASB ground: Assured tenancies.

Duration and expiry

An NSP expires 12 months after service. A landlord wishing to start court proceedings beyond that period will need to serve a fresh NSP.[13]

Dispensing with requirement for notice

The requirement for an NSP to be served may be dispensed with if the court considers it 'just and equitable' to do so (eg where a tenant has caused a considerable nuisance to neighbours).[14]

Factors for the court to take into account include:[15]

  • the harm or hardship caused to both landlord and tenant
  • the effect of the notice not being served, and
  • whether the tenant has raised the notice point promptly.

The court does not have the power to dispense with the requirement for service of an NSP where the landlord is seeking possession under grounds 7A (mandatory ASB ground), 7B (no 'right to rent' ground) or 8 (rent arrears ground).[16]

Wales

The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

[1] s.8 Housing Act 1988, as amended by s.151 Housing Act 1996 and s.97 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[2] Form No.3 Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/620, as amended by Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/443, and from 1 December 2016 by Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) (Amendment No.2) Regulations 2016 SI 2016/1118.

[3] Mountain v Hastings (1993) 25 HLR 427.

[4] Torridge v Jones (1986) 18 HLR 107, CA.

[5] s.8(2) Housing Act 1988.

[6] Marath v MacGillivray (1996) 28 HLR 484, CA.

[7] Wandsworth LBC v Attwell (1995) 27 HLR 536, CA; s.196 Law of Property Act 1925, as amended by the Recorded Delivery Service Act 1962.

[8] s.8(3)(b) Housing Act 1988.

[9] s.8(4) Housing Act 1988.

[10] s.8(2) Housing Act 1988.

[11] s.8(3A) Housing Act 1988 as inserted by s.97(2)(b) Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[12] s.8(4C to 4F) Housing Act 1988 as inserted by s.97(2)(e) Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[13] s.8(3)(c) Housing Act 1988.

[14] s.8(1)(b) Housing Act 1988.

[15] Kelsey Housing Association v King (1996) 28 HLR 270, CA.

[16] s.8(5) Housing Act 1988, as amended by s.97(2)(f) Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 and (with effect from 1 December 2016) by s.41(4) Immigration Act 2016.

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