Our guide to the Section 21 Eviction Process
Removing a tenant from your property is never a pleasant thing to have to do. For whatever reason the tenant needs to leave, it is helpful to know that someone is always in your corner to offer support and encouragement when it is needed most.
The letting agent is your first point of contact for advice and help, and this is where we can help, should you need it.
Once the tenancy has come to its natural end, the tenant should leave within two months. If after this time the tenant still has not vacated the property, as the landlord you can apply to the court for help. But this can prove a lengthy process.
Thankfully, there is guidance available, so we have put together a helpful timeline which gives insight into the process:
- Nine weeks is the typical length of time it takes to apply to the court to make a claim for possession.
- You will be using the Court Accelerated Procedure. There is no hearing. The judge makes a decision on the paperwork alone, so ensure that your paperwork is in order.
- You will need to action a draft and send in the claim form, correct papers and the court fee before the court begins processing the claim. This section alone takes up to 14 days.
- While this is happening, do not lose contact with the court or your letting agent. Make checks with the court to ensure your claim is going through the process and keep the letting agent involved in the process so they can offer support.
- After 14 days, the court will serve a copy of the claim to the tenant. The tenant can, at this point, file a defence, although this is rare. Most tenants don’t file a defence (some do nothing at all in this time). There are now 14 more days to wait.
- The landlord then applies to the court for an order of possession which adds 21 more days to the process while the judge studies your paperwork. This, of course, depends on how busy the court is. In London, it may take a little longer. Try to be as patient as you can.
- At this point the judge will make an Order of Possession of 14 days. These 14 days are from when the judge sees the case. Keep your letting agent informed. At this point, you, the landlord, can inform the tenant.
- Wait 14 days while the tenant decides their way forward.
That is the general timeline to expect. Once this has been completed, if the tenant still does not leave, it will be necessary to bring in a bailiff. This can add four to six weeks to the process. As most of the process is out of your hands, it can feel frustrating at times. But a landlord will be unlucky to have to get to this stage, and usually any issues can be resolved without the need for legal intervention.