Drafting & Serving Legal Notices of Eviction


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Take the Guesswork Out of Serving Notices

As a landlord, it’s almost inevitable you will deal with tricky tenants from time to time. Or perhaps you just need your property back to sell or use yourself. Ending the tenancy may be the best course of action – but with so much else on your plate, you’re probably unsure whether it’s allowed and how you make it happen.

With a wealth of experience from over 1,000 successful evictions, Osbourne Pinner can guide you through the process of serving notices to evict tenants. As experienced landlord & tenant solicitors, we’ll establish which type of notice you require, explain how much notice needs to be given and manage the serving process.

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Types of Notice: Section 8 vs Section 21

In the UK, you can evict tenants from your property using either a Section 8 or Section 21 notice. Both refer to the Housing Act 1988, which has been continually updated to regulate rented accommodation and assured shorthold tenancies.

A Section 8 notice is used if tenants have broken the terms of the tenancy. This includes unpaid rent, antisocial behaviour and damage to the property. This is the standard notice to serve for problem tenants with a quicker turnaround than the alternatives (as soon as 2 weeks).

On the other hand, a Section 21 notice is known as a ‘no fault possession’. In other words, you’re simply seeking possession because you want your property back, rather than because tenants have done something wrong. It typically requires at least 2 months of notice.

Posting Notice

Serving a Section 8 Notice

A Section 8 requires at least 14 days’ notice for tenants to vacate your property. It is a serious notice to serve and shouldn’t be used unless necessary. That’s because grounds will need to be listed on your notice, as well as being proven in court in most cases. 

Mandatory Grounds

There are several grounds for a Section 8 notice. The first group are known as mandatory grounds, as they are clear, concrete reasons which are simple to prove and hard to dispute:

  • Ground 1 – Owner occupation where you need to live in the property again.
  • Ground 2 – Repossession by your lender.
  • Ground 3 – The property is required for an out-of-season holiday let.
  • Ground 4 – The property is required for a student let.
  • Ground 5 – The property is required for a minister of religion.
  • Ground 6 – You intend to demolish, reconstruct or perform substantial works on the property.
  • Ground 7 – Death of the assured tenant.
  • Ground 7A – Tenants have been convicted of a serious offence or breached a criminal behaviour order, closure order or IPNA.
  • Ground 7B – You have been notified that a tenant doesn’t have the right to rent due to their immigration status.
  • Ground 8 – Serious arrears where tenants owe at least 2 months’ rent.

Discretionary Grounds

Elsewhere, there are discretionary grounds for possession. These grounds are more subjective, requiring the court to determine whether they are valid:

  • Ground 9 – Suitable alternative accommodation has been made available for the tenants.
  • Ground 10 – Tenants owe some rent.
  • Ground 11 – Tenants continually pay rent late. These grounds can be used even if rent is not owed at the time notice is served.
  • Ground 12 – Tenants have broken a term in the tenancy agreement, such as keeping pets or subletting.
  • Ground 13 – Tenants have damaged your property
  • Ground 14 – Tenants have behaved antisocially, including illicit drug use, nuisance to neighbours and domestic violence (ground 14A).
  • Ground 15 – Tenants have damaged furniture owned by the landlord.
  • Ground 16 – You have employed the tenant and their employment has come to an end.
  • Ground 17 – The tenancy was induced by a false statement. For example, they lied about income or employment.

Required Notice

Crucially, your notice must explain why you’re using these grounds. You must also include the tenants’ names, the property’s address and the end date for notice. The required notice depends on which grounds you use:

  • Grounds 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 9, 16 require at least two months.
  • For ground 14, no notice is required, so proceedings can start immediately.
  • All other grounds have a minimum notice period of two weeks (14 days).

It’s worth noting that multiple grounds for possession can be listed for a Section 8 notice. This is where it’s helpful to have a specialist team on your side. Osbourne Pinner knows the Section 8 notice procedure like the back of our collective hand, so we can advise you on the most suitable grounds for possession or even whether a Section 21 notice is more appropriate.

Should You Serve a Section 21 Notice?

While Section 8 can have a shorter notice period than Section 21, the latter is much simpler and often faster for landlords. That’s because there’s no need for court proceedings. You don’t even need a reason to ask tenants to leave your property.

A Section 21 notice requires you to give tenants at least 2 months to vacate the property. This may be longer if you have a periodic tenancy, where they have finished a fixed term and continued living in the property.

Even if tenants are disruptive, section 21 can be easier and quicker. That said, you can’t use a Section 21 if the tenancy started less than 4 months ago – or if they have a fixed term which hasn’t ended. There are also several requirements in terms of your responsibilities as a landlord which need to have been met.

At Osbourne Pinner, we’re familiar with all the ins and outs of serving Section 21 notices. Our expert team can assess your tenancy to check whether all requirements are met and guide you through the best course of action if a Section 21 notice isn’t possible.

Reading Notice

Serving Both Section 8 & 21 Notices

Section 8 and Section 21 notices are technically separate procedures. As such, they can be served at the same time. In many cases, this is recommended.

For example, if you want your property back as quickly as possible due to unpaid rent, you could serve a Section 8 notice.

What if the tenant pays back their debt? The court might rule in their favour and allow the tenancy to continue. You would be back to square one and probably still worried about unpaid rent or late payments in future.

Serving a Section 21 notice can act as a backstop in this case, ensuring your possession of the property within two months while still chasing the unpaid rent with a Section 8 notice.

Choosing between two types of notice can be confusing enough, never mind the idea of serving both simultaneously. To find the right solution for your tenancy, we recommend a consultation with our expert landlord & tenant solicitors. We know everything there is to know about residential tenancy law, so you don’t have to. With our team on your side, you can rest assured that you’re taking the right action.

What to Do If Tenants Don’t Leave Your Property

Houses in London

This is one of the most commonly discussed areas when it comes to serving notices. And with good reason too. As a landlord, you want to rent out property and protect your investment, not forcibly move people in and out of buildings!

If you have served a Section 8 notice and tenants don’t leave by the required date, you should apply for a possession order from the court. Alternatively, for Section 21 notice, you can apply for apply for an accelerated possession order. Both routes require you to complete an N244 form and pay the court around £200-400.

The court will either make a decision or hold a hearing if tenants challenge your claims. Ultimately, if your case is successful in court, they will issue a possession order and potentially a money order for rent arrears.

So what about them leaving? If tenants ignore the possession order issued by the court, you can then get a warrant for possession to forcibly evict your tenants using a bailiff. This requires another form – N325 – and costs a further £130. If it’s issued, the warrant will have a specified date, with a confirmation form to fill in and return.

As you can imagine, this is a lot to navigate when you have other properties to manage or other commitments. Specialist solicitors can take the weight off your shoulders and all the admin off your to-do list. Osbourne Pinner is committed to fast responses on all cases, so we’ll ensure your eviction is resolved in the quickest timeframe possible.

How Osbourne Pinner Can Help

Serving Section 8 & 21 Notices

Osbourne Pinner can assist with all of the issues outlined above, including Section 21 and 8 notices with various grounds for possession. We’ll advise on the right route for you, draft your notice and manage communication with your tenants and the courts wherever required.

Court Correspondence and Representation

Our team can represent you in court to ensure the best outcome for your case. We can also manage all correspondence with the courts, including filling in forms on your behalf to keep your case moving forwards.

Landlord & Tenant Mediation

Serving notice may seem like an extreme measure for some landlords and tenants. It’s always worth communication with your tenants beforehand to see if any issues can be resolved, whether that’s unpaid rent or concerns about the use of your property. We can help with this too!

Meet the Team

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Richard Young


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Santhosh Kumar


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Yee Han


Fast Turnaround Times
Clear Advice & Assistance
Free Initial Consultation

No Hidden Charges

Book Your 30-Minute Free Initial Consultation

If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to the act of serving notices, Osbourne Pinner offers a 30-minute consultation free of charge. You can come to our offices or join a video call to discuss the best course of action for your eviction. Call us on 0203 983 5080 or use our online enquiry form to arrange your consultation.


We do not offer Legal Aid.

Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.

FAQs About Serving Notices

Section 8 and 21 notices are important legal documents which need to be professionally drafted to ensure everything is present and correct for the eviction of tenants. Once the document has been created, notice can be served by any of the following means:

  • Personal delivery – This is the preferred option as you may be able to get tenants to sign and date the notice to prove they have received it.
  • Post – First-class post is recommended to avoid delays in your case.
  • Email – You can also email notice as long as tenants have agreed to it. This is usually through the contract or tenancy agreement when they moved into the property.

This depends on the type of notice being served and grounds for possession. Section 21 notices typically require at least 2 months’ notice before tenants have to leave. Alternatively, Section 8 notices require between 2 weeks to 2 months. However, ground 14 matters, such as illegal substance use on the property, can eliminate the need for any notice period.

Absolutely. You are under no obligation to move back into the property or let it out again after taking back possession. A Section 21 notice is usually the best option, giving tenants at least 2 months of notice to vacate a property you want to sell.

However, you don’t necessarily have the right to conduct viewings until they have left. This is only possible if agreed in your contract or tenancy agreement. If so, you’ll need to give them 24 hours’ notice. Alternatively, you will need to ask for permission from your tenants.

Technically speaking, you don’t need a solicitor to serve a Section 21 notice. However, there are so many technicalities involved, from knowing you meet the requirements to drafting the document, that it’s highly recommended to get some professional support – at least to set you off on the right foot.