Section 21 or Section 8 | Deciding which eviction action to take

Section 21 or Section 8, deciding which eviction action to take.

We will always advise you after looking at your case. In many cases we will serve both Section 8 and Section 21 notices at Step1 and then act with the one that’s going to work best as circumstances change later. Here are some key factors we look at:

If the tenant has done nothing wrong, you can only use Section 21.

If the tenant is persistently late with rent or owes more than two months rent, or has breached the tenancy in another way, you can use Section 8. However, sometimes even if the tenant has breached the tenancy, you might still be better off using Section 21, because possession is mandatory and it’s very difficult for the tenant to cause any delay in proceedings.

What we prefer about the Section 21 Eviction Procedure

The tenant cannot defend against this action. As long as the application is valid, possession must be granted and the tenant will be ordered to leave. Generally possession is smoother in this paper-based process. There are a few cases where a court hearing will be required. We will advise you if this is likely. Even though rent arrears are not covered by this process you can, at any time within six years, make a separate claim for debt. If there are rent arrears, but the tenant does not have any assets or employment and there is no guarantor, we often recommend the Section 21 eviction process – you may never the recover the rent arrears, but you get the property back without a court hearing.

What we prefer about the Section 8 Eviction Procedure

If there are large rent arrears and the tenant has means to pay or there is a guarantor, Section 8 is the obvious choice. It can save you from serious financial loss. As long as we are confident that we can prove the tenant’s breach of tenancy under at least one of the mandatory grounds, the court is compelled to grant our landlord possession. If the landlord hasn’t fully complied with the deposit scheme legislation, Section 8 is easier to use than Section 21. It’s also useful to use Section 8 if there is still a long period until the end of the tenancy.

Disadvantages to consider

If you have not fully complied with the deposit scheme legislation you cannot use Section 21 at all unless you take some remedial steps first.

Under Section 8, when the court gives you a money order against the tenant, you still have to act on the order to recover the money from the tenant and often you will have no success or it will be too costly to pursue.

Under Section 8 the tenant can put in a defence. Even if the tenant lies, their defence can force an adjournment and delay proceedings. However, in all our years we have only ever seen two Section 8 cases go beyond a second hearing.

Under Section 8, if you lose you may have the tenant’s legal costs awarded against you.

Precise Treatment Reduces Pain

Detail needs experts. Expert time is worth it when it saves you a costly mistake. Main objective: Get the property back. Best action: Very precise treatment.

Serving a notice is actually the most important part of the possession process.

It isn’t complicated but one tiny error can cause dreadful problems.

That’s why we say, don’t DIY and don’t use internet amateurs. It’s not worth it.

1. Compliance Errors
If the tenant doesn’t leave at Step1, the notice had better be valid. Because then it has to go to court. Any little error can get a case thrown out. And you have to start all over again.

2. Attempting Short-Cuts.
In an effort to be quick, some internet services aimed at landlords are using short-cuts around the process. But if the tenant doesn’t leave (50%) these practices can backfire at court and the case thrown out.

3. Trying to Save Pennies.
Internet services have mushroomed and landlords can expect to get what they pay for. To get the process done PROPERLY it takes a certain amount of time for an expert to look over a file and be accurate. Our fees cover that expert time.

Chasing courts for dates, arranging advocates and preparing court papers is time consuming. Especially if you’ve never done it before.

Some landlord and agents have served notices themselves. They believed they were saving a few pounds but it often ended up costing them more.

If you lose a claim, the court can order you to pay the tenant’s defence cost, which can run to hundreds or thousands of pounds.

Our in-house Solicitors are there to get your property back as fast as they can. And we protect landlords and agents from themselves.

As experts, we know that in the rush to get things done, errors can happen. And those errors can can come back later to mess up your case – and the whole process has to start again.

You can speed things up – give us accurate information quickly. Help us to help you.

There are services on the web who will prepare papers BUT they get you to pay the court-fee separately and get you to sign the court papers – so in fact they don’t represent you!

If your notice (at Step1) wasn’t drafted or served correctly you risk wasting your court fees and losing a whole lot of time because of a small error.

We won’t let your case anywhere near a court until we have checked every little detail. To make sure you don’t waste time or money, at Step-2 we first only charge part of the fee.

If your notice is fine, then you just pay the balance of the fee and we issue the claim. If there is a problem with your notice or paperwork, we will advise you what to do next.

Courts take the view that possession proceedings can make someone homeless. So they are very careful. If there’s any error in the notice, they throw the case out. It’s the process. Get it right or lose.

If the notice is invalid, you have to start all over again. The weeks or months you’ve waited are wasted. If there were rent arrears, there are now more.

If there weren’t rent arrears, they might now start. More fees. More lost rent. And still no possession. Tenants can be alerted to making a counter-claim.

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