A landlord may obtain an order for possession of an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) by either issuing a section 21 notice or by issuing a relevant notice pertaining to a Ground under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988.
- The Grounds
The Grounds are divided into 2 categories:
- Mandatory Grounds where if the ground is made out the court ‘shall’ make a possession order, and
- Discretionary Grounds where if the ground is made out the court ‘may’ make a possession order if it considers it ‘reasonable’ to do so.
Mandatory Grounds: Schedule 2 Part I
Ground 1: Owner has lived in or wishes to live in the property
Ground 2: Mortgagee requiring possession in order to exercise power of sale
Ground 3: Holiday homes let out of season
Ground 4: Student accommodation let during vacation
Ground 5: Ministers of religion
Ground 6: Demolition, reconstruction or substantial works
Ground 7A: Conviction for certain offences/ breach of injunction etc.
Ground 8: Two months arrears of rent
Discretionary grounds: Schedule 2 Part II
Ground 9: Suitable alternative accommodation is available for the tenant
Ground 10: Some arrears of rent
Ground 11: Persistent delaying in paying rent
Ground 12: Breach of obligation of tenancy
Ground 13: Deterioration of dwelling house or common parts
Ground 14: Nuisance, annoyance, immoral or illegal user
Ground 15: Deterioration of furniture
Ground 16: tenancy resulting from employment of landlord and employment has ceased
Ground 17: tenancy obtained by deception
- Section 21 Notice
Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 enables a landlord of an AST to rely on a section 21 noticeto obtain mandatory possession without having to establish any grounds for possession. He merely has to serve a section 21 notice of the Housing Act 1988 in the correct form and without having to establish any fault by the tenant.
A mandatory order for possession can be obtained after the initial 6 months of the tenancy for a periodic tenancy or at the end of a fixed term tenancy, on condition the landlord has not granted a new fixed term that is still in existence. The notice must be in writing and does not have to follow a prescribed form.
Where the tenancy started off as a fixed term tenancy the notice is to be not less than two months and can be given before the expiry of the fixed term. Where the tenancy has always been periodic the notice must require possession after a date which is the last day of a period of the tenancy and the possession date cannot be earlier than two months after the date the notice was given.
The landlord must obtain a court order to lawfully evict a tenant if the tenant has not left the property by the end of the section 21 notice period.
Prohibition of serving a section 21 Notice
A landlord is prohibited to serve a section 21 notice on his tenant when he fails to provide the tenant with the ‘prescribed information’ as set out in section 21A of the Housing Act 1988; or when he fails to adhere to the tenancy deposit scheme as set out under sections 212-215 of the Housing Act 2004.
- Security of Tenure DURING a Fixed Period or First 6 Months
A landlord is required to prove a Ground to obtain a possession order during the first 6 months of the original tenancy, or during any longer fixed term.
- Security of Tenure AFTERa Fixed Period or First 6 Months
A landlord may obtain possession of an AST by serving a Section 21 noticeafter the initial 6-months where 6 months is the fixed term of the tenancy or where the tenancy is a periodic tenancy, or only after the end of a longer fixed term.
- Vacant Possession
The court cannot entertain proceedings for possession of a dwelling house let under an AST unless the landlord has served a notice on the tenant. There are three stages involved for a landlord to obtain possession:
- Serving a notice
This can be a section 21 Notice or other mandatory grounds specified in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988
- 1stApplication to the county court
The court nearest to the property for a Possession Order
- 2ndApplication to the county court
For court bailiff to evict the tenant