I have just watched a webinar done by the NRLA regarding possession and “Ground 1” was mentioned as a grounds for eviction. Basically if you have lived in the property before or intend to as a clause. This is of particular interest to me as I have a property that is currently rented out that I used to live in that I do intend to go back to. NRLA mention it is a standard clause in their current AST and it does appear to be. It isn’t in the Openrent and can’t just be added, although maybe it could be at renewal time. Just thought that if it’s good enough for the NRLA makes sense for you guys to put it in your AST as I’m sure there are lots of others like me on your platform?
Hi James, thanks for your thoughts on this.
For those reading along at home, here is what Ground 1 states:
At some time before the beginning of the tenancy, the landlord who is seeking possession …occupied the dwelling-house as his only or principal home
Not all landlords have used the properties they let through OpenRent as their primary residence, so it would be inappropriate for us to include a clause saying that they have in our standard AST.
However, we allow Custom Clauses to be added by landlords. Many landlords include a clause describing their prior primary residence in the property and therefore their ability to use this section 8 ground to terminate the tenancy.
As you mention, you will indeed be able to add this clause in your AST if you choose to renew using OpenRent’s renewal service. Renewing with OpenRent is free.
More on OpenRent renewals here: https://help.openrent.co.uk/hc/en-gb/articles/360018696171-How-to-Renew-a-Rent-Now-Tenancy-for-Free
I know that not all landlords haven’t lived in their rentals. I have 5 that I haven’t lived in. However it is not uncommon. Also in a time where it is getting harder to gain possession I think it is sensible for landlords to have as much in their favour as possible. The NRLA have it in their standard AST, point 7.5, and I believe they know a thing or too about lettings as well…
Yes, I would certainly advise all landlords who could use Ground 1 of Section 8 to include the term in their AST so they can use the ground if they need to.
Can I slip this in at renewal of contract? If we renew?
Would have thought so as it will be a new contract.
Hi James, yes you can edit your contract when you renew with OpenRent. The two links in my reply above have some info on how that works, but feel free to contact our support team at email@example.com if you’d like some support setting that up.
Are you able please to suggest suitable wording to add as a custom clause - as this seems very useful to have.
In my case we lived in the property for a number of years in the late 90s
thanks in advance
I think the clause has to be present before the initial tenancy.
But you can add it in at contract renewal from what I understand. The NRLA have it as a standard clause in their AST if you can get access to that?
Ground 1 is a Prior Notice ground, ie you have to notify the tenant (in writting) beforehand if you want to rely on it. You can’t just spring it on them out of the blue. This never use to be an issue because you could serve a s21 no fault/no stigma notice instead but that’s all change now, present gov policy being to undermine and abolish s21 so get the Prior Notices in your contract. Caveat is “Not later than the beginning of the tenancy the landlord gave notice in writing to the tenant that possession might be recovered on this ground …” and be sure to read rest of the section for all the the ifs and buts. Note this is a mandatory ground, meaning if you have served prior notice and can prove the circumstances that satisfy this ground then the judge has no choice but to grant outright possession.
I haven’t been able to verify what you say James 36, but you may be right as the wording of the Act does refer to the start of the tenancy, not prior to taking possession. However, there is nothing compelling a tenant to sign a tenancy renewal, so if they see a term they don’t like, they can just decline to sign it and keep the tenancy periodic.