When it’s time for a tenancy to come to an end – how do you know which notice to serve?

There are two types of notice that a landlord can serve to a tenant when they want to ask their tenant to leave – Section 8, and Section 21. Serving the wrong notice or making some basic errors can be costly for landlords.

Sometimes a landlord needs to take his property back. Perhaps they chose to be a landlord for a short period of time, for example whilst working abroad.  Alternatively, they bought property as an investment to fund their retirement and has decided that it is time to release the capital or in some cases, the tenant may have failed to pay their rent on time and is in arrears.

So how does a landlord know which notice to serve?  We’ve explained the key differences below.


This is the notice to serve when the tenant has breached their Tenancy Agreement.  There are a number of reasons a landlord can give for serving a s8 notice – including non-payment of rent, or anti-social behaviour.  This type of notice can be served at any time during a tenancy, however if it is because of rental arrears, then you must usually wait until the tenant is at least two months in arrears before notice can be served. 

It is also possible to add a claim for unpaid rent with a s8 notice.

However, the downfall of the s8 notice is that if the tenant makes some sort of concession – for example paying some of their rental arrears - then the possession notice could be delayed.


Section 21 notices are served when a landlord wishes to take their property back from a tenant for any reason.  However, unlike a s8 notice this type of notice can’t be served during the first four months of the original six-month tenancy, and the landlord must give two months’ notice.

In some cases, it is more appropriate that a landlord chooses to serve a s21, rather than a s8 on a tenant who has defaulted on their rent.  This is because as long as you have performed your legal obligations, there should be no reason why you won’t get your property back.

There are two possession routes under a s21 notice

Standard Possession procedure

Accelerated Possession procedure

The latter won’t automatically go to court, and it won’t include a money judgement.  Therefore, a separate claim would need to be made in the event that there are rental arrears.

Whichever notice you choose to serve its vital that the tenant has been treated fairly and legally throughout the tenancy.

Serving notice on a tenant can be daunting. At Haybrook all tenancies on our fully managed service includes an eviction service meaning we manage the Section 8 and 21 Notices for you. Additionally, if you take our Rent & Legal Protection Insurance, then missing rental payments will automatically be covered.   

Please contact Kate Hurles on  07960 120267 or email kate.hurles@haart.co.uk if you are interested in joining our Landlord Investor Club. It’s free to join and we will give you access to exciting investment opportunities and useful information.