How Long Does It Take To Evict A Tenant? | Read Time 2-4 Minutes.
When it comes to eviction, there is “no one size fits all”. Notice periods vary across the board and are determined by the eviction notice served, and the grounds which the tenant has broken.
This means that you can expect an eviction to take anywhere between 2 weeks and 6+ months. Although this period is extensive, an eviction is entirely dependent on the tenant and how far they are willing to contest the eviction.
So long as the tenancy is an assured shorthold tenancy (AST), there are 3 stages used to evict a tenant. It is always advised to follow these 3 stages in the correct order. Otherwise, if a stage fails, it can lead to you having to restart the process, which can make the eviction process painstakingly long.
Stages of eviction
- Serving eviction notice (Section 8 or 21)
- Court proceedings (possession order)
- Warrant of Possession (bailiffs)
Below, we have detailed the eviction process and the steps to take when a tenant refuses to cooperate. Furthermore, we have included information on how you can ensure you have the fastest eviction process available.
What happens after an eviction notice has been served on tenants?
Suppose everything goes swimmingly. You serve your section 8/21 notice, giving the tenants sufficient time to leave the property. The tenants voluntarily leave by the date specified in the notice without making a fuss. If this is the case, you can expect the eviction process to take between 14 days and 2 months.
If you have grounds to evict your tenant under a section 8 notice, the notice periods can vary. This is because each ground under the section 8 notice has different required notice periods. For example, if your tenant is in serious rent arrears (4 months without payment), the notice period is 4 weeks. If you serve a section 21 notice during a fixed term, the required notice period is 2 months.
What happens if a tenant ignores the notice?
Be aware that it is not common for a tenant to leave after serving a section 8 notice based on severe rent arrears. Typically, this is because the tenant does not have sufficient funds to move out and pay a deposit on a new property.
If your tenant is to ignore the notice served (whether it be section 21 or 8), then you will need to make an application to the court for a possession order.
It is vital to use a lawyer when making a possession order to help with drafting and issuing proceedings at court. Generally, after applying to the court, it will take between 6-8 weeks for the judge to grant a possession order under either a section 8 or section 21.
What happens if the tenant ignored the possession order?
In most cases, if the tenant has refused to leave the property after the first notice, they will ignore the 14-day possession order. Unfortunately, if this happens, it will mean that you will have to go to the final step of eviction.
The final step of evicting a tenant, if you have exhausted all other avenues, is to make an application for an eviction date with the County Court Bailiff. This can take between 5-10 weeks. However, the waiting time for court dates regarding eviction has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Therefore, if your court application is based on either section 8 or 21, and you have followed the previous steps, you can expect it to take anywhere between 5-7 months to evict a tenant.
What causes delays in the eviction process?
Executing procedures within the eviction process correctly is vital to minimise the time it takes to evict a tenant. Most commonly, mistakes landlords make when attempting an eviction without a lawyer include:
- Incorrectly serving the notice (not recording proof of delivery).
- Spelling mistakes.
- Not securing a tenant deposit.
- Issuing possession proceedings prematurely.
- Using the incorrect form.
If you seek legal assistance, stay legally compliant and follow the process correctly, you will have the best chance of a speedy eviction.
Why you should never try and persuade tenants to leave through incentives.
Despite there being no way to speed up the eviction process, you can trust that it will work. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for attempting to persuade your tenant to leave through financial incentives.
A small minority of landlords attempt to persuade their tenant to leave with a financial incentive. For example, suppose you have a tenant who has accumulated 1-month rent arrears. You offer to revoke the 1-month rent arrears on the condition that the tenant will leave the property. After the agreement, you refund the tenant their deposit, and they remain in the property. If this is the case, not only have you lost the deposit, you have delayed the eviction process and now have to start from scratch.
You must always seek legal assistance when evicting a tenant to ensure the procedures involved in the process are completed correctly. This will prevent you from wasting time, money and stress.
Want to evict a tenant and need advice?
If you do not follow the correct eviction procedure and are to unlawfully remove a tenant from a property without a court order, you can face legal consequences. To ensure a safe and fast eviction, it is best practice to use a lawyer. If you need help evicting a tenant, we can help, simply give us a quick call on 020 3795 9020. We will connect you with an expert landlord lawyer.