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Making sense of the new Renters Reform Bill Section 8 Grounds for Possession

Ipad showing schedule 1 of the Renters Reform Bill changes to grounds for possession

The Renters Reform Bill is proposing made significant amendments to the Section 8 Grounds for Possession set out in Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988. Yet, trying to figure out what it all means is like trying to read alphabet soup!

This article sets out in a simple table form the changes that the Renters Reform Bill is proposing to make, partly as a consequence of abolishing Section 21. This post has been updated to include the draft of the Renters Reform Bill published on 1 May 2024 on its entry to the House of Lords. I will continue to update it if the Bill changes during the remaining stages of its passage through parliament.

This post provides an easy overview of what’s happening to the various Grounds for Possession.

If you’re wondering how it will work after the new Section 8 comes into force, click here for my detailed guide on how landlords will be able to evict tenants with the new Section 8.

Note: The Renters Reform Bill was abandoned in the run-up to the 2024 General Election. I am leaving this post on the blog for historical purposes.

numbers and letters of pasta soup
The new Grounds for Possession in the Renters Reform Bill are a bewildering array of numbers and letters

The Updated Mandatory Grounds for Possession

The table below summarises what the Section 8 Grounds for Possession will look like after the changes in the Renters Reform Bill comes into effect, based on the 1 May 2024 draft.

The table also shows which Grounds for Possession are new, which are being changed and which are being repealed the Renters Reform Bill. It’s effectively an enhanced destinations table.

You’ll see that Bill proposes changing almost all of the existing Mandatory Grounds for Possession, and introduces many new ones.

Updated GroundsPoints to NoteNoticeAmended?
1. Landlord/ family moving inTenancy must have existed 6+ months2 mthsWider
1A. Selling upPrivate landlord intends to sell property, tenancy must have existed 6+ months2 mthsNew
1B. Social housing rent-to-buyLandlord is private registered provider of social housing and there is a rent-to-buy agreement2 mthsNew
2. Mortgage repossessionProperty subject to mortgage granted at any time. Lender exercises power of sale requiring vacant possession2 mthsAmended
2ZA. End of superior leaseLandlord’s lease is under a superior tenancy that is terminated by the superior landlord2 mthsNew
2ZB. Possession by superior landlordAfter superior tenancy ends, superior landlord becomes tenant’s direct landlord, & seeks possession2 mthsNew
[3. Out of season holiday let]RepealedN/ARepealed
4. Student accommodationIn the 12 months before start of tenancy the property was used to house students. Can only be used by educational establishments and PBSA2 wksAmended
4A. Student letA landlord can recover possession of lets to full-time students at the end of the academic year (1 June to 30 September), in order to let it to students again.2 mthsNew
5. Ministers of religionProperty held for use by a minister of religion to perform the duties of their office and is required for occupation by a minister of religion2 mthsAmended
5A. Agricultural workersLandlord requires possession to house someone who will be employed by them as an agricultural worker.2 mthsNew
5B. Employment criteriaSocial landlord requires property to let to someone based on employment eligibility eg key workers2 mthsNew
5C. Employment by landlordProperty was let as a result of the tenant’s employment by landlord, and the employment has come to an end OR tenancy was not meant to last the duration of employment and is required by new employee2 mthsAmended:
was Ground 16
5D. End of employment related criteriaSocial landlord granted the tenancy because of tenant’s employment eligibility (eg key worker) and they no longer meet criteria2 mthsNew
5E. To be used for supported accommodationProvider requires possession from a non-supported accommodation resident to relet as supported accommodation4 wksNew
5F. Supported AccommodationProvider requires possession because support services or funding has ended or reduced; provision no longer meeting tenant’s needs; placement was ‘move on’ accommodation4 wksNew
5G. Temporary AccommodationLandlord ending a tenancy originally granted because the household is owed the homelessness duty4 wksNew
6. RedevelopmentLandlord seeking possession to redevelop 6+ months after tenancy starts. Must demonstrate changes cannot be done with the tenant living there2 mthsAmended
6A. Enforcement ActionLandlord subject to enforcement action by Local Authority or banning order by First-tier Tribunal and needs to regain possession to become compliant. Refused/Revoked HMO licenses etc2 mthsNew
7. Death of tenantTenancy was passed on by will or intestacy. Possession proceedings must begin within 24 mths of death2 mthsAmended
7A. Severe ASB/ Criminal BehaviourTenant convicted of criminal offence, breached IPNA, breached criminal behaviour order, or convicted of causing noise nuisanceImmed.*Amended
7B. No right to rentAt least one tenant has no right to rent2 wksUnchanged
8. Rent arrearsTenant is at least 2 months in arrears at the time notice is served and the court hearing. Exemption for outstanding universal credit payments4 wksAmended
8A. Repeated serious rent arrearsThree separate instances of at least 2 months of arrears over a 3 year period4 wksNew
Consolidated Table: Mandatory Section 8 Grounds for Possession as revised by Renters Reform Bill

*The court may only make a possession order that takes effect at least 14 days after the service of the notice

a confusing extract from the renters reform bill on the changes to section 8 grounds for possession

The Updated Discretionary Grounds for Possession

There are fewer changes to the Section 8 Discretionary Grounds for Possession in the Renters Reform Bill. These Discretionary Grounds may well become more popular for landlords to rely on, following the abolition of Section 21.

However, as they are Discretionary Grounds, it is for the judge to decide whether it is reasonable to make an order for possession in the circumstances.

The table below summarises what the post-Renter Reform Section 8 Discretionary Grounds currently look like.

Updated GroundsPoints to NoteNoticeAmended?
9. Suitable alternative accommodationSuitable alternative accommodation is available for tenant2 mthsUnchanged
10. Any rent arrearsTenant is in any amount of arrears when notice is served and on the day of court hearing4 wksUnchanged
11. Persistent arrearsTenant has persistently been late paying their rent4 wksUnchanged
12. Breach of tenancy agreementTenant has breached tenancy agreement (excluding payment of rent)2 wksUnchanged
13. Deterioration of propertyTenant has caused the condition of the property to deteriorate2 wksUnchanged
14. Anti-social behaviourTenant or anyone living/ visiting the property has been guilty of causing nuisance or annoyance, convicted of using the premises for illegal/immoral purposes, or convicted of an indictable offence in locality.Immed.*Amended
14A. Domestic AbuseSocial landlords only. Can evict the perpetrator if partner has left property2 wksUnchanged
14ZA. Offence during riotTenant or other adult living at the property convicted of indictable offence at a riot in the UK2 wksUnchanged
15. Deterioration of furnitureTenant has caused the condition of the furniture to deteriorate2 wksUnchanged
[16. Employee of landlord]Amended and move to Mandatory Ground 5CN/AMoved
17. False statementTenancy was granted due to false statement.2 wksUnchanged
Consolidated Table: Discretionary Section 8 Grounds for Possession as revised by Renters Reform Bill

*The court may only make a possession order that takes effect at least 14 days after the service of the notice

Finding a way through the maze of section 8
Hopefully the new Section 8 Grounds for Possession are a bit clearer now!

Deposit protection rules to be changed

Under Section 215 of the Housing Act 1996, a landlord cannot serve a Section 21 notice unless the landlord has complied with the deposit protection rules.

With the abolition of Section 21, the Renters Reform Bill introduces an equivalent provision. Under the new regime, a court will not award possession under any Ground, except Grounds 7A and 14 (anti-social behaviour), unless the landlord has properly protected the deposit.

When will the New Grounds for Possession come into effect?

The Renters Reform Bill is currently going through parliament. The abolition of Section 21 and the changes to Section 8 are expected to come into effect on or after the second implementation date, which will be at least 18 months after the Bill receives Royal Assent, provided there has been “sufficient progress” to the digitisation of the court system to support the higher case load.

>> Related Post: Renters Reform Bill Timetable

Final thoughts

The abolition of the “no fault” Section 21 mechanism by the Renters Reform Bill will profoundly change the ability of landlords to evict tenants. Although Section 21 is called the “no fault” eviction, it’s really the “easy” eviction, as no reason needs to be given or justified. It doesn’t mean, however, there is no fault on the part of the tenant or that there isn’t a reason.

After Section 21 is abolished, the Mandatory and Discretionary Grounds in Section 8 will come to the fore to help landlords regain possession of their property when they can demonstrate they have a good reason.

Click here for more on the likely impact of the abolition of Section 21 and a here for guide on how landlords will go about evicting tenants under the new regime.

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picture of alphabet and number pasta to show what the renters reform bill is like
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