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Applying to Court for Possession — Standard Procedure (England) | Landlord Wants Tenant to Leave (England) | Preventing Controlling and Recovering Rent Arrears (England)

The definition of ‘arrears’

27 Jan 2018 | 7 comments

Hi, for the Section 8 ground 8: what is the definition of ‘arrears’ please – the tenant pays one month in advance, for example if he moved in July 4th and he pays first payment (let’s say it’s £1000 per month) – due date: July 4th for rental period July 4th-Aug 3rd. Then if for example on Aug 4th he only pays £800 – When would he be ‘two months in arrears’ as defined in the Section 8 – would it be October 4th because he then still owes £200 from August plus being 30 days late for the September 4th £1000 payment?

The section 8 notice also says 2 months of ‘rent unpaid’ – is this the same as 2 months ‘arrears’? and does it means any amount of the rent that was due, even if only £10 of it is unpaid.




  1. Jackson

    In addition to this I’ve seen some other people say that there is a difference between ‘two months in arrears’ and ’two months unpaid’ in that case they say if rent is due on say 4th July and then it is still not paid by 5th August, that is two months rent unpaid – the full rent of the due date 4th July and then one day after the 5th August becomes late, there are two months unpaid . . . This makes a big difference to be able to serve the section 8 notice 32 days after the first payment was unpaid rather than 60 days (when there are two months ‘arrears’) – your thoughts on this would be most welcome. Many thanks

  2. guildy

    For the purposes of section 8, 2 months arrears (or unpaid) is money not time. If the rent is £1000pcm, there needs to be £2000 owing.

    Where the tenancy shows the rent to be payable in advance (as most tenancies do), two months arrears is one month plus one day of non-payment.

    E.g. if rent is not paid on 4 July that’s £1000 owing. On 4 August, another becomes due (but it’s not in arrears until the following day) therefore, on 5 August there are 2 months arrears (or unpaid) and the notice can be served.

  3. holborn1977

    Where a different payment date has been agreed can I just verify that for ground 8, 2 months arrears would be triggered after the payment was missed on the PAYMENT date NOT on the tenancy date? Or does this perhaps depend on whether the agreed payment date occurs before or after the date of tenancy?

    I appreciate of course that for other grounds and section 21, the relevant date for the notice remains the tenancy date.

    Many thanks

  4. guildy

    Where a new payment date has been agreed, the arrears will be calculated using the new payment date.

    In respect of section 21, having a changed payment date can become tricky but our notices fix the problem.

    If the tenancy is from October 2015 onwards, it doesn’t matter because the notice can expire anytime. However, for a tenancy before this date and depending on the terms of the tenancy, the notice must expire “at the end of a period”. Is that the tenancy date or the new agreed payment date? Our notice doesn’t have a date and instead uses a formula to calculate the end of a period. As long as both possible dates have passed, it doesn’t matter and the notice is valid.

  5. Jackson

    Hi, I have another question on Section 8 arrears timeframes . . . . . If you file a Section 8 as soon as two months are due (ie: 32 days after the first rent payment is missed) then the tenant CAN invalidate Ground 8 by paying a small amount, even £10 just before the court hearing . . . . . is it not better to wait until he has missed 3 payments? If this was the case would he not have to pay one of the 3 rent payments in full (and another small amount) to invalidate Ground 8? . . . in other words if he has stopped paying the rent anyway is it not less risky to wait until it’s 3 unpaid because he is less likely to risk paying a larger amount to invalidate it?

  6. guildy

    We believe the court would see through such an act of paying £10 or similar and order possession under grounds 10 or 11 anyway.

    Rather than waiting for more arrears, you would be better just serving the section 21, 2 months notice without giving a reason.

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