Ground 1 clause for Openrent AST

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:


Hi Sam

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…



Hi James,

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.

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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 if you’d like some support setting that up.


Hi Sam
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.

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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.

Hi! Could someone please suggest suitable wording to add ground 1 as a custom clause in this case? It seems to be exactly what I’m looking for, thanks a lot!

Have a look here:

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The GRL have made grounds 1 & 2 non-removable from their new standard AST (they have a tenancy builder) on the basis that the very worst possibility is that it’s a waste of (digital) ink, but there are potentials for problems if landlords don’t keep them in. If both the NRLA & the GRL are now advising these clauses as standard it’s probably about time the Open rent one was updated too.

I’m afraid that ground 1 is not all as it seems. I am trying to evict using this ground, I lived in the property over a decade ago and divorced I need to move back in. I am living in very makeshift conditions.

The signed AST I had included this term. NRLA said “you just need to say you want to move back in”.

S8 notice I served on my tenant expired over a year and half ago issued in March 2020. So August 2020 (using this ground and several discretionary included too). In Sept 2020 I applied to enforce and she hit back with solicitors and barristers (all publicly funded as she is a benefit tenant) and a monster dilapidations claim which requires surveyors and untold paperwork. She is damaging the flat and claiming dilapidation. She issued fraudulent invoices from non existent companies to rectifiy the work, now says the work was shoddy and more builders must be sent in… but the flat was perfect !. The costs are overwhelming and I cannot match a state funded DSS / benefit tenant. I was assured by the NRLA that ground 1 signed AST prior notice would be sufficient.

I now know that it isn’t. Not by a country mile.

You have to also prove you lived there. (It doesn’t say that in the AST nor did NRLA mention this. )
Long story short its so long ago, over a decade, and another lifetime with divorce etc I have no proof. I did not register in 2010 electoral role (genuine reason). The signed by all parties AST with that clause in the AST I now find is worthless unless I can prove I lived there. Nothing disproves it but nothing proves it either (there is the electoral role gap for the property for my time there but no name). My legal fees in this alone are over £14k and if I am not successful I have to pay her costs too, she is state funded.

Its beyond dreadful. I so deeply regret ever taking on a council DSS / Universal Credit tenant.
And to clear up something else, you cannot get UC paid directly if the tenant is so minded to with hold rent which mine does. I have applied (last 3 times were with Bill Irvines help) a total of 9 times now but the tenant just has to say to UC its in dispute in the court and UC then close the case.

They don’t tell you either.

I think the only way for any LL is 6 month ASTs. Then you can use S21 to evict is if it comes to that, or of course renew if the tenant is ok.

I am modest to low income (work in a school). In debt now, have no savings. I cannot sell the property with this situation and facing a cliff. I am sure there are some good UC DSS tenants out there but there is a huge risk involved. Mentally this leaves you in a very dark and isolating lonely place. I cry a lot. It was a lovely flat and this tenant has destroyed it. A single mother escaping abusive boyfriend, I fell for it.

The deposit which was council paid she took me to court over that as well. I could not lodge it and meet the councils requirements so tried dialogue with the deposit agency and council… but in doing so went over the 30 day threshold. Her costs I had to pay were 5 x the amount she got as compensation (£1500), + my own… for a deposit she did not even pay nor owns. I could not reverse out because council do not release deposit until tenant has moved in. Then you find there are strings.

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Wow, that sounds horrendous. However, to be fair, I don’t think the problem is with ground 1, which is mandatory if proven.

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