There can be a number of reasons why a landlord may wish, or need, to evict a tenant from their property, such as:

  1. a tenant breaching their tenancy agreement (such as not paying their rent, or not keeping the property in a good condition);
  2. to enable sale of the property; or
  3. the landlord may wish to reside in the property.

Whatever the reason, it is important for landlords to be mindful of the process that is required and the time it may take to successfully evict the tenant and regain possession of a property.

The law that governs this process is the Housing Act 1988.

Landlords, depending on the circumstances of the eviction, will often choose the option of serving either a Section 8 or Section 21 notice (or both) to evict their tenant. Whilst essentially, both can have similar results in evicting a tenant if successful, it is important to know that there are certain conditions that must be met in order to serve either notice, there are significantly different timescales and what a landlord is able to claim against a tenant under each notice is different.

Whilst on the face of it, serving a Section 8 or 21 notice may appear as a quick and simple process, landlords need to be aware of the pitfalls that many fall foul of.

Landlords will need to consider if they have served all the relevant documentation on the tenant at the commencement of the tenancy and throughout – also known as ‘prescribed information’. Missing some of this information, or indeed not validly serving the notices may have significant consequences on the procedure and timescale in connection with the eviction and may even prevent the right to serve a notice altogether.

It is also important for landlords to note that service of a valid Section 8 or 21 notice does not automatically mean that the process is almost over.

Should a tenant defend the eviction, or should the landlord fall foul of those aforementioned pitfalls, landlords may be forced to pursue the eviction in the Courts leading to further delay and significant increases in costs.

If the possession Order is granted through the Courts, the landlord may still need to consider instructing bailiffs to remove problem tenants.

If you’re a landlord of a residential property and would like to discuss any of the above or any other matter in relation to a potential property dispute, please get in contact with BHW’s Dispute Resolution department at

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