Section 21 eviction

How long the section 21 eviction process takes

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. court action by your landlord to get a possession order

  3. eviction by bailiffs

1. Notice period

A section 21 notice has to give you at least 2 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 stay in your home.

2. Court action by your landlord

Your landlord must apply to court for a possession order to evict you if you do not leave when the notice ends. They cannot evict you themselves.

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

They have 4 months from the end date on the notice to apply. The notice is not valid after that date.

It could take between a few weeks and several months for your landlord to get the court order.

How long it could take 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 will not automatically be a hearing.

Find out more about the court process.

A judge decides if a hearing is needed by looking at the information you and your landlord have given.

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

But the court must make a possession order if the section 21 is valid. A possession order means the court has decided you will have to leave your home.

The possession order will have a date for possession on it.

The date for possession is not the end of the process and you do not have to leave by this date.

3. Eviction by bailiffs

Only court bailiffs can evict you from your home.

Your landlord can ask bailiffs to evict you if you do not leave by the date for possession. This process can take several weeks.

Most landlords use county court bailiffs. Some use hight 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: 28 November 2022

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