What are the differences between a Section 8 and Section 21 (Form 6a) notice?

A Section 21 (Form 6a) notice is used to evict tenants in a no-fault eviction, meaning the landlord wants to use the property for his or her personal use. A Section 8 eviction notice is the notice required in order to begin eviction proceedings for at-fault tenants. Once the landlord has commenced this process and completed the information required on the notice, he or she must ensure all information provided is accurate. If there are any errors, the court will delay the process and wait until any required corrections are completed. The grounds for issuing a Section 8 eviction notice is usually late payment or non-payment of rent, damage done to the property, unsociable behaviour and subletting to other people. There are both mandatory grounds and discretionary grounds.

In order to evict a tenant using Section 8, the landlord needs to quote one of the eight mandatory grounds as listed below:

Discretionary grounds are listed as 9 to 17, as outlined below. When the landlord is trying to claim possession under discretionary grounds, it is suggested that more than one ground is cited because if the tenant decides to pay off part of any rent arrears just before the day of the hearing, this ground cannot be used and the possession proceeding will end.

It is common practice to highlight more than one ground for rent arrears, which are grounds 8, 10 and 11, if these are applicable and to wait until at least two months’ rent (or eight weeks' rent with a weekly tenancy) has not been paid before the Section 8 notice is issued. The discretionary grounds are as follows:

9. The landlord has offered suitable similar accommodation and quality to the tenant and it has been rejected. The landlord is required to pay reasonable removal costs if granted possession.

10. The tenant is overdue with his or her rental payments but in the case of weekly payment only by eight weeks, two months for monthly payments and one quarter for quarterly payments.

11. The tenant is constantly late with rental payments and often fails to pay any rent until prompted to do so.

12. The tenant has clearly broken any terms found in the tenancy agreement.

13. The tenant has damaged or neglected the rental property, or he or she has sub-let the property to someone else who has damaged or neglected the property.

14. The tenant has behaved in anti-social ways towards neighbours, and complaints have been lodged concerning this conduct.

15. The tenant has damaged, lost or sold furniture and fittings on the property.

16. The property was let out to the tenant as a condition of their employment but the employment has now come to an end.

17. The rental property was let out based on false information the tenant provided, including information given by the tenant’s referee or guarantor.