Section 21 eviction
How long a section 21 eviction takes
You don't have to leave immediately when you get a section 21 notice.
There are 3 stages to eviction:
court action by your landlord
eviction by bailiffs
Your landlord can only apply to court after the notice period ends.
The courts are open during coronavirus and dealing with eviction cases. It's important to read any letters from the court and attend the hearing if there is one.
Bailiffs can carry out section 21 evictions again from 1 June.
You may be able to get free legal advice with all stages of the process.
When the council must help
The council must look into your situation and help if either:
your section 21 ends in less than 8 weeks
you can't afford to stay in your home
You can ask your council for help before your landlord starts court action.
1. Notice period
The notice period runs from the date your landlord gives you a section 21 notice until the date on the notice.
Notice periods have changed several times because of coronavirus.
|When you were given notice||Minimum notice period|
|On or after 1 June 2021||4 months|
|Between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 2021||6 months|
|Between 26 March and 28 August 2020||3 months|
|Before 26 March 2020||2 months|
Section 21 notices received before 29 August 2020 are no longer valid unless your landlord started court action within 6 months of giving you the notice.
2. Court action by your landlord
Your landlord can start court action as soon as the notice period ends.
They have 4 months from the date on the notice to apply to court. The notice won't be valid after that date.
The total time for the court process could vary from a few weeks to several months.
It depends on:
how busy the court is
if a hearing is needed
how quickly your landlord acts
How long until the court looks at your case
Courts are dealing with some cases before others.
You may be closer to a decision on your case if your landlord:
uses the accelerated procedure
started court action before coronavirus restrictions were introduced
The court must make a possession order if the section 21 notice is valid.
Always return your defence form if your landlord uses the 'accelerated procedure' as there won't automatically be a hearing.
The defence form is your chance to tell the court anything they should know. For example, if your section 21 notice is invalid.
Find out more about the court process.
3. Eviction by bailiffs
The possession order has a 'date for possession' on it. This date is usually 2 to 6 weeks after the court makes the order.
The date for possession is not the same as an eviction date.
Your landlord can ask bailiffs to evict if you don't leave by the date for possession.
At the moment all section 21 evictions by bailiffs are on hold until after 31 May 2021 due to coronavirus restrictions.
The total time for this stage will vary depending on:
the type of bailiffs used
how busy the bailiffs are
Most landlords use county court bailiffs but they might use high court bailiffs, also known as high court enforcement officers (HCEOs).
Before the coronavirus outbreak it took around 7 to 10 weeks on average from a landlord applying for county court bailiffs until the eviction date.
It could be much quicker than this if your landlord uses high court enforcement.
Bailiffs and HCEOs must give you at least 2 weeks' notice of the eviction date.
Last updated: 21 May 2021