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Section 8 eviction notice

This page is for private renters with an assured or assured shorthold tenancy.

We have different advice for council and housing association tenants facing eviction.

Your landlord can give you a section 8 notice if they have a legal reason to end your tenancy. For example, rent arrears.

Legal reasons for eviction are called 'grounds for possession'.

To evict you with a section 8 notice, your landlord must:

  • list the grounds on the notice

  • prove the grounds apply to you in court

The process takes time. Sometimes the court can stop an eviction.

Most private landlords use the section 21 eviction process because they do not have to prove a legal reason.

The government has said that section 21 no fault evictions will be scrapped but this has not happened yet.

How to check your section 8 notice is valid

A section 8 notice must give:

  • the right amount of time

  • the date after which court action can start

  • the legal reasons for possession and how they apply to your situation

A section 8 notice must give you either 2 weeks or 2 months, depending on the legal reason.

Your landlord can apply to court after the notice period is up.

Your landlord has a year from when you get the notice to start court action.

Check what a section 8 notice looks like on GOV.UK

Use our notice periods checker to find out how much notice your landlord has to give you.

Section 8 notice for rent arrears

Rent arrears is the most common reason for a section 8 notice.

A section 8 notice for rent arrears must give you minimum of two weeks.

The legal reasons the landlord can use are:

  • ground 8 - if you owe at least 2 months' rent

  • ground 10 - if you owe some rent

  • ground 11 - if you keep paying your rent late

Your landlord can use ground 11 even if you do not owe rent when they give you a notice.

The landlord's notice must explain why the landlord is using these grounds.

Breathing Space is a scheme that can help tenants with rent arrears. It pauses the eviction process for up to 60 days while you get debt advice.

Find out if you could get breathing space

Watch out for ground 8

The court must make a possession order if your landlord uses ground 8 and you owe at least 2 month's rent:

  • when your landlord gives you a section 8 notice

  • on the day of the hearing

The court can refuse to end your tenancy if:

  • the landlord only uses grounds 10 and 11 even if you owe more than 2 months' rent

  • the landlord uses ground 8 but you owe less than than 2 months' rent on the day of the court hearing

The court might order you to repay the rent you owe over time.

Try to reduce your rent arrears below 2 months by the time of the hearing if your landlord uses ground 8.

Other grounds for possession

Check your notice to see if any other grounds are listed.

Other grounds that are sometimes used by private landlords include:

  • ground 12 - you break a term in your tenancy agreement

  • ground 13 - you cause damage to property

  • ground 14 - you behave antisocially

There is no minimum notice period with ground 14 for antisocial behaviour. Your landlord could apply to court as soon as they give you the notice.

Where to get help

Get help as soon as your landlord gives you notice.

You can get legal help if you need support to check the notice is valid, deal with your landlord or if your landlord goes to court.

Speak to your council if you're at risk of eviction. They must work with you to try to stop you becoming homeless.

If your landlord starts court action

Your landlord can apply for a possession order after the notice period has ended.

You will get letters and forms from the court. Keep them together in a file.

This table shows the main documents you should get before a court hearing.

Letters receivedWhat this means
Claim and defence formsYour landlord has applied for a possession order
Notice of possession hearingThe court has arranged a hearing for you to attend

Complete a defence form

The court will send you a:

  • N5 claim form

  • N11R defence form

Read the claim form carefully. Look for any mistakes or anything you disagree with.

The defence form lets you tell the court why you should not be evicted. For example, if:

  • what the landlord says is not true

  • you can repay the rent you owe

  • you have a claim for compensation that will reduce rent arrears

Get legal help to complete the defence form. You have 2 weeks to return it to the court.

If you cannot get legal help with your defence form

Court guidance says you could send a short statement if you cannot get help and do not know what to write on the defence form.

You should explain your situation and why a possession order should not be made.

Attend the court hearing

The hearing usually takes place at your local county court. It should only happen online or by phone if you agree to it.

Your notice of possession hearing tells you:

  • the time and date of the hearing

  • how to get free legal help on the day

Get legal advice before the hearing if you can.

The hearing usually only takes about 15 minutes.


  • attend a court hearing

  • let the court know if there's a reason why you cannot

A good reason is, for example, if you have to go to hospital.

Get free legal help from a county court duty scheme on the day if you do not have an adviser or solicitor with you.

Decisions the court can make at the hearing

The court could dismiss the case if:

  • your landlord cannot prove a ground for possession

  • the section 8 notice is not valid

When the court must order possession

The court must give possession to the landlord if all of the following apply:

  • your landlord uses ground 8 for rent arrears

  • you owed at least 2 months' rent when the landlord gave you the notice

  • you still owe it on the day of the court hearing

Other legal reasons when the court must give possession to the landlord include:

  • ground 1 - the landlord lived in the property before your tenancy started and needs to move back in

  • ground 7B - the Home Office told the landlord that you or another joint tenant has no right to rent

An order that gives possession to your landlord is called an outright order.

When the court can let you stay

Sometimes the court can decide it is not reasonable to evict you even if your landlord proves a legal ground.

The legal reasons when the court can decide not to end your tenancy include:

  • ground 10 - you have some rent arrears

  • ground 11 - you keep paying your rent late

  • ground 12 - you break a term in your tenancy agreement

  • ground 14 - you behave antisocially

The court can make a suspended possession order. This means that you can stay in your home if you keep to conditions.

For example, the court could let you stay and repay the rent you owe over time if your landlord has not used ground 8 or you've reduced your arrears to below 2 months by the time of the hearing.

If the judge makes an order, you usually have to pay the court fees and some or all of your landlord’s legal costs. There are limits on how much you can be ordered to pay.

Eviction by bailiffs

Only court bailiffs can evict you from your home.

Your landlord can apply for bailiffs if you:

  • stay past the date on an outright order

  • break the conditions in a suspended order

They can use county court bailiffs or high court enforcement officers (HCEOs).

The bailiffs give you at least 2 weeks' notice of the eviction date.

You can only ask the court to stop the eviction at this stage if the eviction order was made on grounds 9 to17.

You cannot ask the court to stop the eviction at this stage if your landlord got an outright order on ground 8, even if you clear the arrears.

Find out what happens if the eviction goes ahead.

Responsibility for rent and bills

You are responsible for rent and bills until your tenancy ends.

It means that you may have to pay rent, council tax and utility bills until either:

  • the landlord's notice ends - even if you leave before

  • the court ends your tenancy - if you stay after the notice ends

You do not have to pay if you leave and the landlord rents the property to someone else straight away.

Last updated: 28 June 2023

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