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Changes to Section 8 notices

Article by Adeela Ahmed on Apr 28, 2015 View in browser

Changes to Section 8 notices

On the 6th April 2015 new procedures came in to force in respect of the Section 8 notices seeking possession. Landlords of residential tenancies granted pursuant to the Housing Act 1988 (the 1988 Act) (assured and assured shorthold tenancies) will need to ensure that they use the new section 8 notice where they are seeking to start the possession process on the basis of the tenant’s breach(es) of the tenancy.

The Assured Tenancies and Agricultural Occupancies (Forms) (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/620) came into force on 6 April 2015. The Regulations revoke and replace those which previously set out the statutory notices to be used under the 1988 Act, including notices for rent increases under section 13 and notices seeking possession under section 8.

The section 8 notice and, specifically, the guidance notes to tenants that form part of the notice, have been updated to accommodate the new grounds of possession that came into force last October under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. These include ground 7A (which relates to anti-social behaviour) and ground 14ZA (which relates to an offence taking place at the scene of a riot). See Below.

It is important that landlords and those acting for them update their notices. Older notices used after 6 April would be high risk, particularly if you were seeking to rely on one of the new grounds, as these are not mentioned in the older style of notice. The Regulations do not apply retrospectively so notices in the old style served before 6 April 2015 will still be valid.

GROUND 7A

Any of the following conditions is met.

Condition 1 is that—

(a)    the tenant, or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house, has been convicted of a serious offence, and

(b)   the serious offence—

(i) was committed (wholly or partly) in, or in the locality of, the dwelling-house,

(ii) was committed elsewhere against a person with a right (of whatever description) to reside in, or occupy housing accommodation in the locality of, the dwelling-house, or

(iii) was committed elsewhere against the landlord of the dwelling-house, or a person employed (whether or not by the landlord) in connection with the exercise of the landlord's housing management functions, and directly or indirectly related to or affected those functions.

Condition 2 is that a court has found in relevant proceedings that the tenant, or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house, has breached a provision of an injunction under section 1 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, other than a provision requiring a person to participate in a particular activity, and—

(a) the breach occurred in, or in the locality of, the dwelling-house, or

(b) the breach occurred elsewhere and the provision breached was a provision intended to prevent—

(i) conduct that is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person with a right (of whatever description) to reside in, or occupy housing accommodation in the locality of, the dwelling-house, or

(ii) conduct that is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to the landlord of the dwelling-house, or a person employed (whether or not by the landlord) in connection with the exercise of the landlord's housing management functions, and that is directly or indirectly related to or affects those functions.

Condition 3 is that the tenant, or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house, has been convicted of an offence under section 30 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 consisting of a breach of a provision of a criminal behaviour order prohibiting a person from doing anything described in the order, and the offence involved—

(a) a breach that occurred in, or in the locality of, the dwelling-house, or

(b) a breach that occurred elsewhere of a provision intended to prevent—

(i) behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to a person with a right (of whatever description) to reside in, or occupy housing accommodation in the locality of, the dwelling-house, or

(ii) behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to the landlord of the dwelling-house, or a person employed (whether or not by the landlord) in connection with the exercise of the landlord's housing management functions, and that is directly or indirectly related to or affects those functions.

Condition 4 is that—

(a) the dwelling-house is or has been subject to a closure order under section 80 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and

(b) access to the dwelling-house has been prohibited (under the closure order or under a closure notice issued under section 76 of that Act) for a continuous period of more than 48 hours.

Condition 5 is that—

(a) the tenant, or a person residing in or visiting the dwelling-house, has been convicted of an offence under—

(i) section 80(4) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (breach of abatement notice in relation to statutory nuisance), or

(ii) section 82(8) of that Act (breach of court order to abate statutory nuisance etc.), and

(b) the nuisance concerned was noise emitted from the dwelling-house which was a statutory nuisance for the purposes of Part 3 of that Act by virtue of section 79(1)(g) of that Act (noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance).

Condition 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 is not met if—

(a) there is an appeal against the conviction, finding or order concerned which has not been finally determined, abandoned or withdrawn, or

(b) the final determination of the appeal results in the conviction, finding or order being overturned.

In this ground—

“relevant proceedings” means proceedings for contempt of court or proceedings under Schedule 2 to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014;

“serious offence” means an offence which—

(a)  was committed on or after the day on which this ground comes into force,

(b)   is specified, or falls within a description specified, in Schedule 2A to the Housing Act 1985 at the time the offence was committed and at the time the court is considering the matter, and

(c)  is not an offence that is triable only summarily by virtue of section 22 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (either-way offences where value involved is small)

GROUND 14ZA

The tenant or an adult residing in the dwelling-house has been convicted of an indictable offence which took place during, and at the scene of, a riot in the United Kingdom.

In this Ground—

“adult” means a person aged 18 or over;

“indictable offence” does not include an offence that is triable only summarily by virtue of section 22 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (either way offences where value involved is small);

“riot” is to be construed in accordance with section 1 of the Public Order Act 1986.

This Ground applies only in relation to dwelling-houses in England.