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New legal guidance on S8 notices - landlords can issue two of them

There’s new legal guidance for landlords faced with long-standing arrears and it says it’s possible to serve a second Section 8 notice if there’s more than six months of outstanding rent. 

Robert Bolwell of Dutton Gregory - a law firm working closely with lettings agents’ body ARLA Propertymark - says a second S8 can be served even if the first has yet to come into force.

Bolwell says: “One of the tantalising questions now is, what do I do if I have rent arrears of five months? Do I serve a notice now for six months’ expiration date or do I wait until I go over the six month mark? At six months, the rules say your Section 8 notice period (on ground eight) can actually be four weeks.” 


And he adds: “We’re looking at situations now where the clients have served a six-month notice initially, when the rent arrears are quite small, but when we get to that six months [of arrears] mark, we might be serving another notice because...of the shorter period [of 4 weeks notice]. The general rule is, it’s never wrong to serve additional notices.”

Speaking on a trade webinar, he said those with rent arrears of three or four months could be served notice, with landlords then “keeping an eye on those rent arrears and, if things are getting worse, when you hit that six month mark, serve another one for four weeks. Because that might enable you to start proceedings more quickly than waiting for your first notice to expire.”

In terms of the court backlog, Bolwell said that “the indicators suggest that you will save time if you can go down the accelerated route than if you go down the normal route.” 

He said that this action could save landlords “weeks, maybe even months” in being granted a possession order. 

Bolwell noted that, in addition to the estimated backlog of 65,000 cases, an additional review process, combined with the requirement to social distance in the courts themselves, means that it will take longer than usual for cases to be heard. Usually, courts could hear up to 10 cases an hour, said Bolwell, but now it could be as little as three.


This additional review process is the judges assessment of the “reactivation notice”, which needs to be included with claims filed on or after 3 August 2020. 

The “reactivation notice,” says Dolwell, comprises an Covid-19 impact statement and up to two-years of rent payment history “even if it is an accelerated claim and you are not claiming for rent arrears”.  

The legal expert also noted that the government has changed the forms for Section 21 and Section 8 notices and advised letting agents and landlords to ensure they were using the most recent forms, which can be downloaded from the government website - “They look very similar to pre-Covid except that there are different expiry periods for different grounds, and it sets these out." 

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  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Of course you can serve a second Notice ! The last Notice served super seeds any before it.
    That's nothing new, or Rocket-science.

  • Ruan Gildchirst

    When were the forms updated?

  • icon
    • 16 October 2020 23:15 PM

    There is one simple answer to a lot of current LL issues.

    Invest in.

    1. Catterick
    2. Tidworth

    In 2021 the money is coming in these areas for PRS. Fully guaranteed, any issues easy to deal with and tenants have a tendancy to move every few years. So no problems getting your houses back.

    • 17 October 2020 00:21 AM

    Wrong invest in a residential house anywhere as a luce-in LL and take in lidgers.
    Any person may have as many homes as they wish to reside in and take in lodgers.
    NO tenants.
    Occupy each home at least once per month though not really needed more for residential insurance purposes.

    If only one additional home could be afforded rather than buying 4 BTL in Tidworth then that is the better investment.
    Dispense with tenants.
    If affordable go for one resi property rather than multiple BTL ones..

    Unrelated lodgers might be a bit if extra hassle compared to long term tenants but with LODGERS you can always quickly get rid of the rent defaulting ones.

    Try doing that with tenants!!

  • icon

    estimated backlog of 65,000 cases, additional review processes, courts could hear as little as three cases an hour... you do the math ?

    "could" x4, "might" x2, and "the indicators suggest"... and, of course, "The general rule is, it’s never wrong to serve additional notices.” - 'cos you have to pay me more money !

  • icon
    • 18 October 2020 02:30 AM

    It is clear the current eviction process is just not fit for purpose.

    It wasn't before the CV19 thing hit the world.

    Effective and timely eviction is fundamental to the letting business model.

    This is not being delivered by the inadequate court process.

    The vast majority of evictions are caused by rent defaulting.

    Such a situation can't be subjective with the wisdom of a judge required to deliberate whether eviction should occur.

    There is no need or requirement for such deliberation.
    It should be a simple case that at the expiry of the S21 or S8 if the rent is in arrears by any amount then the following day the LL may without any further Court action required REMOVE the rent defaulting tenants and their possessions onto the street with Police assistance if necessary to prevent a breach of the peace.

    The only way a tenant could prevent this is by paying the LL or LA cleared funds to pay off all outstanding rent arrears with a receipt being given to the tenant acknowledging that rent arrears had been paid.

    The LL would then be unable to pursue a quick eviction until 2 months of arrears had built up.
    That is 1 month and one day for rent contractually paid 1 month in advance.

    Just by adopting this eviction process would free up thousands of hours of court time which is currently being wasted by feckless rent defaulting tenants.

    Such an enhanced eviction process would transform the PRS substantially to the advantage of tenants who would all of a sudden find many more LL willing to let to the more difficult tenants.


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