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:

  1. notice period

  2. court action by your landlord

  3. eviction by bailiffs

Your landlord can only apply to court if you're still living there after the notice period ends. 

In this situation your tenancy continues until you agree to leave voluntarily or are evicted through the legal process.

This page tells you about the timescales involved with each stage of the process.

1. Notice period

Notice periods have changed several times during coronavirus. Notices for all tenants have now returned to the shorter notice periods in place before the pandemic.

Date you were given noticeMinimum notice period
On or after 1 October 20212 months
Between 1 June 2021 and 30 September 20214 months
Between 29 August 2020 and 31 May 20216 months

If you got your notice before spring 2021 it will have expired unless your landlord has already started court action.

Your landlord must give you a new notice if they still want you to leave.

When the council must help

You can ask your council for help before court action starts.

The council must look into your situation if:

  • you can't afford to stay in your home

  • your section 21 ends in less than 8 weeks

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

Always return your defence form if your landlord uses the 'accelerated procedure' as there won't automatically be a hearing.

Find out more about the court process.

The court must make a possession order if the section 21 notice is valid.

The possession order has a 'date for possession' on it.

The date for possession is not the same as an eviction date.

3. Eviction by bailiffs

Your landlord can ask bailiffs to evict if you don't leave by the date for possession.

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

County court bailiffs have a backlog because of coronavirus and it could take several weeks before the bailiffs arrange an eviction date. High court enforcement is usually quicker.

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: 30 September 2021

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