Best route to evict, frequent late rent payments

My tenant has been late on rent payments on and off for the last 4 months. Eventually the payments come through in dribs and drabs but only after I have to chase, never with any communication on their part. Last month I said clearly this situation could not continue else well need to end the tenancy as we need certainty around payments to cover our own costs etc. I hoped this would resolve it however it’s late again this month, paid in dribs and drabs with no confirmed date for the balance.
I understand this might meet grounds 10 or 11 under Section 8 , am I understanding this correctly in saying just 2 weeks notice is required? (We’re into periodic tenancy)
I’m happy to give longer than 2 weeks but would prefer the tenant goes sooner than 2 months. What’s the best route, section 21 or section 8?
Some people say serve both but how do I do this if both have different notice periods?
Also Rent is due on 25th does the notice have to start from that date eg. exit couldn’t be before 25th November if 2 months?
Thanks in advance

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Hi Suzanne8

My understanding is that there should be 2 months unpaid rent -2months rent arrears for to serve s8 notice.

You can ask your tenants the reasons for late paying rent as you you are saying the eventually payments are paid so there is no rent arrears.

Thanks for your reply.
It would be the discretionary grounds of section 8 (grounds 10/11) rather than the mandatory as it’s persistent late rent rather than arrears.
I’ve asked the tenant and it’s cash flow but I suspect they can no longer afford the rent, I’ve tried to be really understanding for the last 4 months but I need certainty that the payments can be made so I can meet my own obligations so sadly this situation no longer works for me. The lack of any update without chasing is also not helping, we just need a fresh start with a new tenant.

You will need to use s21 if you want to evict them. Its very unlikely that a judge will give you possession based on grounds 10 and 11 alone.


Thanks, does the 2 months only start from the next rent payment date?

Its 2 months rent owed, so it starts the moment the second month is due but unpaid. However, it has to be 2 months at the time a s8 ground 8 notice is served AND at the time of the court hearing. If the tenant pays even 1p off the arrears, ground 8 will fail.

In the years when I managed large estates (which included both commercial and residential lettings)I found that one late or missed rent payment was usually no more than a warning sign and might be due to a one-off situation, or even a memory lapse or mistake in book keeping.
But I found that if the problem was repeated a second time it didn’t matter how long I allowed for things to be corrected, they never were, and the longer I waited the worse the problem became.
I ended up with a 2-strike rule. 2 strikes and you’re out.
But it was easy for me - big company, just business, nothing personal, all dealt with by solicitors (at one stage I had a £100k p.a. legal budget). I usually never even met the tenants.

Three options here.
Option A - Meet the tenant and find out what’s going on - then decide what to do. Might even include waiving some rent if there’s a temporary problem - but check everything you are told, ask for evidence, don’t take anything on trust.
Option B - don’t chase, say nothing, let the arrears build up to 2 months, then go for s8 mandatory grounds. As David 122 says the rule is 2 months outstanding at the date of the hearing so if the Tenant tries to avoid the hearing by paying some arrears they must reduce the arrears so they are less than 2 months. A tenant in trouble who has 2 months outstanding and is faced with a court hearing usually pays nothing so you end up with a total of 8 months or more arrears by the time of the hearing.
Option C - s21


Many thanks.
This is the fourth month now of late payments so definitely a pattern. I’ve asked the tenant what the issue is and when it is likely to be resolved but getting no communication. At the moment part of the last months rent is still outstanding (almost 14 days late) with no date of when I can expect the balance. Sept will then be due in a couple of weeks.
It seems like S21 is the best option even though it will seems that we can’t put an end date until end of November. (Rent usually due at end of each month).
We’ve tried to work with the tenant and have been extremely understanding but the lack of communication is just not a situation we can continue with as it’s putting strain on our own finances.
Presumably can I give the exit date but invite them to confirm if they would like to move out earlier?

Yes, you can offer to accept an earlier surrender if that suits them. I’m sure you realise, but if the tenant doesn’t leave on expiry of the notice, you have to apply to court for a possession order.

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Hi David and all landlords, have you had experience of N5B applications following a section 21 and if so how long does it take for the court to respond with a decision??

It is largely area dependent, but could be weeks or even months.

Hi, Hope you are well. I have exactly the same issue as you. Tenant has been constantly in rent arrears since July last year and I have been very understanding BUT it has always been me that has to chase them for the due rent. Both tenants work and due to one changing jobs they wanted a month to catch up. Of course no problem but this turned into a regular repeat. They asked me to move the rent date but they fail to understand that if rent is due 2nd of each month and you want me to move it to 24th of each month. That is fine but who pays for the 22 days gap. They think its just a payment date move.
Prior to Christmas they were nearly 2 months in arrears and would not respond to my messages. They blamed it on another job change by the same tenant, Christmas period shopping and a new baby.
I have given them time to catch up but they keep failing to meet agreement that they offered.
So rent was due on 02-Feb and they still have not paid. Got a stroppy text saying I will get paid when they get paid and not to bother them anymore.

I know I want them out as this is impacting me financially having to ensure I have sufficient funds to cover costs and mortgage. Even my situation has changed over the years but I built up some emergency funds for myself.

looking at : Discretionary Grounds for Section 8 Eviction (10,11)
I believe I fall under that category.

Can anyone tell me if this is correct and what my success rate is should it end up in court.
I have kept excellent records of everything and showed that I was very understanding.

My concerns are the same as you. They simply cannot afford and nothing saying his job wont change again.
His partner is getting some kind of allowance which was more than sufficient to cover the rent going forwards from November. They have never caught up with arrears.

I strongly feel that tenants are going to slip further into debt and I do need to act now.

Hope yours got resolved - any advice help you can provide I would be very grateful for.

ps. emailing and trying to get through to OpenRent is near impossible.

Sickens me when people blame their poor choices on not being able to afford things (inc rent). In this world you can’t have what you can’t afford IE a baby!


Hi Just a quick update.
I served a Section 21 and took a witness with me and handed letter to the female tenant. No issues.
Then as I drove away I could hear shouting and the male tenant chasing after my car.
I didnt stop. BUT I got a torrent of WhatsApp messages threatening me.
On 02-March the tenant was into their 3rd month of rent arrears and I was already in contact with a local Solicitor to serve a Section 8.
Since I have guarantors I have asked the Solicitor “will you be writing to them as well?” as I see it pointless in having Guarantors if they are not held accountable for the rent arrears as well.

**Last night I got another message from tenant saying that their was a noise coming from the airing cupboard. They also sent a video which showed the Hot Water Actuator making a buzzing sound. It’s a simple fix for my plumber BUT I wanted to know if I still had responsibility to repair this developing fault or not. **
I have not responded to the tenant as they are taking the **** But then I thought I better ask as I don’t want to end up taking tenants to court and the judge says I still had a duty of care etc.

@Mark10 My friends saw your response and said it was SPOT ON.
I forgot to mention that the tenants were saying they barely had food in their cupboards. Yet when I went round the other day their glass bin was overflowing with wine and beer bottles. Their WhatsApp photo is of them with their new born and clearly a studio photo professionally taken.


You never lose the responsibility for repairs even with the worst tenant behaviour. In fact, disrepair is a standard tenant defence against a s8 arrears claim, so you should get it fixed. I would also ask the engineer to give you an opinion on whether it has been deliberately sabotaged by the tenant.


@David122 Thank you for the advice. Appreciate it. I will get it fixed ASAP as I don’t want to give these bad tenants any excuse/s.
I don’t think its deliberate from what I can see on the video sent to me but will ask plumber to assess.
Thank You