It’s every landlord’s nightmare – the tenant from hell. While extreme cases can make the news – such as the tenant who regularly sang Don’t Cry For Me Argentina at 4am – it’s far more likely that a landlord will want to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent or damage to the property. But however unreasonable the tenant’s behaviour, the landlord cannot bypass set procedures for a quick result.
What is the process for evicting a tenant?
The eviction process happens in 3 stages.
- Stage 1 – the landlord serves a Section 21 or Section 8 notice. A Section 21 notice must give a minimum of 2 months notice to the tenant. A Section 8 notice must give notice of 14 days, 4 weeks or 2 months.
- Stage 2 – if the tenant doesn’t leave after the notice period, the landlord can apply to the court for a possession order.
- Stage 3 – if the tenant still doesn’t leave the property, the landlord can ask the court for a bailiff’s warrant to evict the tenant
How long does the eviction process take?
Figures from the Ministry of Justice show that eviction timescales are increasing slightly. There are regional variations, but the average time from a private landlord making an initial application for a possession order to bailiffs repossessing the property is just over 16 weeks. This doesn’t include the minimum 2 months notice that is mandatory when a Section 21 notice is served or the 2 months arrears that need to be accrued before a Section 8 notice can be served.
If the landlord serves either a Section 21 or a Section 8 notice incorrectly the notice will be invalid and the court won’t grant a possession order. So it’s crucial for landlords to be certain they have followed the correct procedures and fulfilled all their obligations. Otherwise, they may have to restart the process from the beginning and prolong the eviction date even further.
With Lexelle’s Landlords Legal Expenses Insurance landlords can access assistance to pursue an eviction. Lexelle’s legal experts will advise on the best course of action to achieve the desired result.