Landlords And Agents Advised To Serve Section 8 Notices Twice
A legal expert who advises agents and landlords should consider serving a second Section 8 notice if their tenants owe more than six months rent, even though their first notice had not come into force.
The reason being because of the important change to six months’ rental arrears as the notice period for this has been drastically reduced from six months down to just four weeks.
Robert Bolwell, senior partner at Dutton Gregory, said: “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.”
Bolwell the head of the firm’s landlord and tenant department, added: “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.”
He advises landlords and agents whose tenants have racked up three to four months of rental arrears could be served with a notice and 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.”
Bolwell says that because of the courts’ backlog in possession order cases “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 believes that if agents and landlords follow this logic then it could save them “weeks, maybe even months” to achieve being granted a possession order.
However there is a caveat that it could probably take longer for cases to be heard as courts were able to hear ten cases per hour but as of now it could be no more than three in one hour.