How Long Does It Take to Evict a Tenant?
Estimated reading time 6 minutes
The number of households receiving eviction notices has risen 116% this year vs last. If you happen to be a landlord in England that is thinking about evicting tenants from your property you face a daunting and time-consuming process. While some landlords will find their tenants are happy to move out within a few weeks if your tenants refuse to move out then things can take much longer and whilst the proposed Renters Reform Bill will overhaul the housing laws they are not yet law. Understanding the legal requirements to evict someone, the timelines involved, and options that are available is crucial for both you the landlord and your tenant. If you don’t want to go through the process of eviction you can always call Gaffsy for a free no obligation cash offer for your house, flat with tenants in situ.
What are the legal requirements for evicting a tenant?
Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)
Most residential tenancies fall under this category. To initiate an eviction, landlords must serve the tenant with a Section 21 or Section 8 notice which both require specific notice periods.
Different rules apply to other types of tenancies, such as regulated tenancies or those with rent arrears. Seek legal advice for these type of tenancies as they may be specific requirements.
- Section 21 Notice: This is known as a no-fault eviction notice and requires you to give your tenants at least two months’ notice to leave the property. You can use a Section 21 after a fixed term tenancy ends if there’s a written contract or during a tenancy with no fixed end date.
- Section 8 Notice: This is used when the tenant breaches the terms of the tenancy agreement they could be in arrears, have damaged property, damaged furniture whatever the reason the grounds for eviction must be specified. The notice period for a Section 8 will depend on the grounds cited and can be either 2 weeks or 2 months.
What is the eviction process?
If your tenant is refusing to vacate the property after being served notice then you the landlord must follow a set process for shorthold tenancy agreements. Prior to issuing court proceedings it is worth trying mediation or alternative dispute resolution methods to see if a resolution can be found. Failing this, assuming the landlord has correctly served a section 21 and or Section 8 and the tenant is refusing to leave by the date specified on the notice and owes rent then the landlord can apply for a standard possession order with the court. You can apply for an accelerated possession order if you are not claiming for arrears. The possession orders cost £355.
If you have applied to the court for ‘accelerated possession’, there won’t usually be a court hearing unless your tenant challenges the eviction. If it does go to court the court will schedule a hearing where the landlord and the tenant have the opportunity to present their case and the judge then makes a legal decision on what should happen. At the hearing the judge may dismiss the case, this can happen if the landlord hasn’t put forward a strong enough case or the forms have not been filled in correctly. The judge can adjourn the hearing if the judge can’t make a decision on the day. The other outcome is the judge can make a legal decision on what should happen, this is known as making an “order”.
Order for possession
If a tenant does not challenge the eviction, the court will grant a possession order, which means the tenants must leave the property before the date in the possession order which will be either 14 or 28 days after the court hearing. If you are a tenant you need to make sure you have a valid case for not leaving because if you contest the order and further proceedings are needed, if you lose and are evicted the court may order you to pay the landlord’s court fees.
If the tenant fails to leave the property within the order for possession specified timeframe, landlords can request a warrant for possession. Should a warrant for possession be granted your tenants will be sent an eviction notice with a date by when they must leave. This involves bailiffs enforcing the eviction.
Suspended order for possession
Another outcome could be suspended order for possession which means the tenant can stay in the property so long as they pay the rent and obey certain conditions set out in the order. If the tenant fails to comply the landlord can apply to the court to have them evicted.
The tenant must pay a specified amount and if they fail to pay then the courts can take action. For landlords, it provides a legal means to recover the unpaid rent, for tenants failing to comply can result in further legal consequences.
Possession order with a money judgement
This is a combined court order it grants the landlord both possession of the property and a money judgement for any rent arrears owed by the tenant.
Can the eviction time be shortened?
While the eviction process generally takes time, there are potential ways to expedite the process:
a. Professional Advice: Seeking legal advice from a solicitor experienced in landlord-tenant matters can help ensure compliance with all legal requirements and prevent unnecessary delays.
b. Prompt Communication: Maintaining open and prompt communication with the tenant throughout the process may encourage cooperation and speed up the resolution.
c. Alternative Solutions: In cases where time is of the essence, landlords may consider selling the property with tenants in situ. Cash house buyers like Gaffsy specialise in purchasing tenanted properties, providing landlords with a viable alternative to waiting for an eviction.
Evicting a tenant in England involves adhering to specific legal requirements and following a structured process. While the timeline for eviction can vary, landlords should be aware of their rights and obligations. Seeking professional advice, maintaining communication, and considering alternative solutions, such as selling to cash house buyers like Gaffsy, can provide viable alternatives for landlords seeking a quicker resolution.
How can Gaffsy help you?
If you are a landlord who has a tenant in situ that does not want to leave and you don’t want to go through the eviction process, or you simply have a buy-to-let property for sale then contact us today.
Gaffsy will buy any house and buy any flat regardless of its condition, location and size. We can work with you to help you sell your flat fast. Gaffsy is a reputable cash house buyer, this means we have the funds available to complete the purchase of your rental property we do not need to get a mortgage or loan to make the purchase. We do not act as agents or traders, instead we guarantee to purchase your rental property at our quoted price. We will also cover all your legal fees so you receive the full cash amount that we offer for your property. Our team is on hand to make you a free no-obligation cash offer today, what are you waiting for?