When a tenant falls into rent arrears, a landlord has the option of serving a section 8 notice on the tenant. This is particularly used if the tenant is 8 weeks in arrears (if the rent is weekly) or two months in arrears (where the rent is monthly). This is often referred to as “serious rent arrears” and the ground relied upon is ground 8. Our guidance on issuing a section 8 notice is available here.

Ground 8 provides that a landlord is entitled to possession if the tenant is two months in arrears at the time of service of the notice AND the tenant is two months in arrears on the day of the hearing.

Both at the date of the service of the notice under section 8 of this Act relating to the proceedings for possession and at the date of the hearing—

(a) if rent is payable weekly or fortnightly, at least eight weeks’ rent is unpaid;
(b) if rent is payable monthly, at least two months’ rent is unpaid;

[Ground 8, Schedule 2, Housing Act 1988]

In Coltrane v Day [2003] EWCA Civ 342 it had to be decided what happens if the tenant paid a cheque to the landlord in court on the day of the hearing.

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