Eviction after a section 8 notice
This page is for private renters.
We have different advice for council and housing association tenants facing eviction.
What is a section 8 notice?
Your landlord can give you a section 8 notice as a first step towards ending either an:
When the notice period ends they can apply to court for a possession order.
The process takes time and sometimes the court can stop an eviction. Get legal advice.
Most private renters have assured shorthold tenancies. Your landlord may be able to use the section 21 eviction process instead or as well if you have this tenancy type.
Your landlord needs a reason to evict you
To use the section 8 eviction process, your landlord must have a legal reason.
Rent arrears is the most common reason for a section 8 notice but there are other reasons, such as antisocial behaviour.
Legal reasons for eviction are called 'grounds for possession' on the notice.
Your landlord must prove the grounds for possession in court.
Keep talking to your landlord. They may delay court action if you can get your rent back on track and pay off any arrears.
How to check your notice is valid
To be valid, a section 8 must give:
the right amount of notice
a date after which court action can start
the grounds for possession, and explain why they are being used
The court won't order eviction if your section 8 notice is not valid or your landlord does not apply to court in time.
Your notice is valid for a year
If your landlord gives you a valid notice they have 1 year to start court action. After this the notice will lapse and can no longer be used.
Special notice rules are in place because of coronavirus. The rules have changed several times during the pandemic.
How much notice you're entitled to depends on when you were given notice and why.
If you have rent arrears
Rent arrears is the most common reason for a section 8 notice.
Your notice will mention grounds 8, 10 or 11 if you're facing eviction for rent arrears.
The length of notice depends on:
the level of rent arrears
when you were given the notice
Notice periods have changed several times because of coronavirus.
|When you were given notice||Minimum notice period|
|On or after 1 June 2021||4 months (less than 4 months' arrears)|
|4 weeks (4 months' arrears or more)|
|Between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021||6 months (less than 6 months' arrears)|
|4 weeks (6 months' arrears or more)|
|Between 26 March and 28 August 2020||3 months|
|Before 26 March 2020||2 weeks|
From 1 August 2021 the minimum notice period for tenants with arrears under 4 months will reduce to 2 months.
If your landlord uses ground 8
Your landlord can use ground 8 if you have at least 2 months' arrears.
Try to reduce your rent arrears below this level by the time of the hearing.
The court must make a possession order if your landlord can prove at least 2 months' arrears both when you were given notice and on the date of the hearing.
The court can't order eviction on ground 8 if you owe less than 2 months' rent. They might still order eviction on another ground.
If your landlord uses other possession grounds
Check your notice to see if any other grounds are listed.
Use this table to check the minimum notice periods under coronavirus rules since 29 August 2020.
The table does not list every possible ground as some are not used often by private landlords.
|Ground||Between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021||On or after 1 June 2021|
|7 - original tenant has died||3 months||2 months|
|7A - serious antisocial behaviour||4 weeks||4 weeks|
|7B - no right to rent||3 months||2 weeks|
|12 - breach of tenancy agreement||6 months||4 months|
|13 - damage to property||6 months||4 months|
|15 - damage to furniture||6 months||4 months|
|16 - former employee||6 months||4 months|
Between 26 March and 28 August 2020, all section 8 notices had to be at least 3 months.
With ground 14 for antisocial behaviour there is no minimum notice period. Court action could start immediately in serious cases.
If your landlord starts court action
Your landlord can apply for a possession order once the notice period has ended.
You will get several 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 received||What this means|
|Claim and defence forms||Your landlord has applied for a possession order.|
|Notice of review||The court has scheduled a review date for your case.|
|Notice of possession hearing||The court has arranged a hearing for you to attend.|
Claim and defence forms
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 shouldn’t be evicted. For example, if:
what the landlord says isn’t true
you can make an offer to repay rent arrears
you have a claim for compensation that will reduce any arrears
If you can't get help and don't know what to write, court guidance says you could send a short statement to the court instead.
You should explain your situation and why a possession order should not be made.
Notice of review
A notice of review tells you the date your case will be reviewed by a judge.
You don't need to attend in person.
Get legal advice before the review date.
If you're unable to do this, you can get legal help from a court duty adviser on the day.
The notice of review tells you how to do this.
The court hearing
A hearing will usually be at your local county court 4 weeks after the review date.
You will get a 'notice of possession hearing' from the court which tells you:
the time and date
how to get free legal help on the day from a duty adviser
Get legal advice before the hearing if you can.
You should always attend or let the court know if there's a very good reason why you can't. For example, sudden and serious ill health.
The hearing should only take about 15 minutes.
Follow any guidance from the court on arrival times, social distancing and face coverings.
When the judge could dismiss your case
The judge could dismiss the case if your landlord can't prove a ground for possession. For example, if you've paid off all your rent arrears.
They could also dismiss the case if your section 8 notice is not valid.
When the judge must order eviction
The judge must make an outright possession order if your landlord has used ground 8 and can prove that you had at least 2 months' rent arrears both when you were given notice and at the hearing.
They must also make an outright order if your landlord can prove any of the grounds 1 to 8.
An outright possession order sets a date for you to leave your home.
When the judge could let you stay if you keep to conditions
With grounds 9 to 17, the judge can consider if it's reasonable to evict you.
For example, if you have some rent arrears but your landlord has not used ground 8 or you've reduced your arrears to below 2 months by the time of the hearing the judge could make a suspended possession order.
A suspended order lets you stay in your home if you keep to conditions such as paying off arrears in set instalments.
The judge may still decide to make an outright order.
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 can't 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.
Last updated: 1 June 2021