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Section 21 eviction

How long does a section 21 eviction take?

You do not have to leave right away when you get a section 21 notice.

Your tenancy continues until you agree to leave or you're evicted by court bailiffs.

There are 3 stages to eviction:

  1. notice period

  2. your landlord gets a court order

  3. eviction by bailiffs

It's likely to take at least 6 months from getting a section 21 to being evicted. This gives you some time to find somewhere else.

1. Notice period

A section 21 notice has to give you at least 2 months.

Some tenants have a right to a longer notice. For example, 3 months' notice if your rent is due every 3 months.

Section 21 notices are sometimes called 'no fault' notices because your landlord does not need a reason for eviction.

But your landlord must follow rules to use a section 21. For example, they have to use the right form, protect your deposit and give you a gas safety certificate.

Check if a section 21 notice is valid.

When the council can help

All councils must help stop people becoming homeless.

You can ask the council for help as soon as you get a section 21 notice.

The council could help you look for somewhere else to live or negotiate with your landlord to let you stay in your home.

2. Court action by your landlord

Your landlord must get a possession order if you do not leave when the notice ends.

They must not change the locks or evict you themselves.

Your landlord can apply to court as soon as the notice period ends.

How long is a section 21 notice valid for?

In most cases, your landlord has to apply to court within 6 months of giving you notice.

If you have a right to a longer notice period, your landlord has 4 months from the end date on the notice.

The notice stops being valid if your landlord does not apply to court within this time.

This means they would have to give you a new notice if they still want you to leave.

How long does it take to get a possession order?

It can take a few weeks or months for your landlord to get the court order.

It depends on:

  • how busy the court is

  • if a hearing is needed

  • how quickly your landlord acts

The court has to make an order if the section 21 notice is valid.

The order has a date for possession on it.

If you cannot leave by this date your landlord can apply for bailiffs to evict you.

What if the section 21 notice is not valid?

Return your defence form or go to the hearing and tell the judge why.

You can get free legal help at court.

The landlord will have to start the process again if there is a problem with the section 21.

Will there be a court hearing?

It depends if your landlord uses the:

  • general possession process

  • accelerated possession procedure

With the accelerated process, a judge decides if a hearing is needed. They look at the information you and your landlord have given them.

Always return your defence form if your landlord uses the accelerated procedure.

Find out more about challenging a section 21 in court.

3. Eviction by bailiffs

Your landlord can ask bailiffs to evict you if you do not leave by the date on the court order.

It may take another few weeks before the bailiffs write to you with an eviction date.

Most landlords use county court bailiffs. Some use high court bailiffs, also known as high court enforcement officers (HCEOs).

Bailiffs and HCEOs must give you at least 2 weeks' notice of the eviction date.

Find out what happens on the eviction date.

Last updated: 9 January 2024

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