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You can give a section 8 notice in the circumstances described by you, that is, the tenant is in arrears for in excess of 2 months.
In order to be valid, the notice must give:
As your notice is based on the arrears, the current guidelines is that notice on or after 1 June 2021 are required to give 4 weeks where the tenant is in 4 months' arrears or more.
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My apologies for the delayed response, I was not aware of your further questions. Please note the following responses:
1. You may serve the notice yourself.
2. Usually it is served in the method specified in the tenancy agreement. If the agreement is silent you would serve personally, by giving it to the tenant directly, or by putting it through the door of the property, or sent by first-class post.
3. You do not need to instruct a solicitor to start the application to repossess in the court. You may do so though if you require.
4. No the section 6a does not make the section 8 invalid. Time however would start to run from the service of the section 8.