How Long Does It Take To Evict A Tenant?

How Long Does It Take To Evict A Tenant

You often hear of horror stories about landlords being caught up in lengthy eviction battles, while simultaneously accumulating a mountain of rent arrears.

I’m not going to say that doesn’t happen. It does.

However, tenant evictions aren’t always the stuff nightmares are made of! Actually, from my experience, as long as the proper procedures are followed, they can be straightforward affairs that are over relatively quickly…

This blog post is going to be based on my own experience, having dealt with several evictions over the last decade. I’ve also reached out to Legalforlandlords (a UK based getting rid of nightmare tenants, because broadly speaking, ‘eviction’ often means repossessing a property from perfectly good tenants, too. But, ya’ know, we tend to associate evictions with a negative ordeal, which typically involves throwing out the trash!

For those that want to smash ‘n grab a quick answer to the question, I’m not going to deprive you: I’ve had tenants vacate as quickly as 14 days (after they received notice), and I’ve dealt with tenants drag their heels for a painstaking 6 months. The process eviction literally can take anywhere between 14 days to 6-8 months, typically.

I know, not the most useful answer!

But the reality of how long an eviction will take is dependent on the circumstances; mostly what it boils down to is how wilful your tenant is. However, to give you some context, I’ll run through a few scenarios.

Generally, there are three steps to a tenant eviction. Progressing through all steps isn’t necessarily required, but if a step fails, progressing onto the next is required, which means the eviction will take longer…

  • Step 1: Serving legal notice (i.e. Section 8 or 21)
  • Step 2: Court Proceedings
  • Step 3: Warrant of Possession (Bailiffs)

After serving notice (Section 8 or 21)

Assuming your tenant is prepared to play-ball and voluntarily vacate after receiving sufficient notice is given, they will vacate the property on the date specified in the notice, without any problems. This can take between 14 days and 2 months.

If you are serving a Section 21 notice during the fixed term, you are required to give two months notice to your tenant.

If you are a serving a section 8 (because you have grounds for eviction e.g. rent arrears), the notice period can vary from 2 weeks to months, depending on which grounds are being used to serve the notice. For example, if your tenant is in rent arrears, which is the most common reason for eviction and serving a section 8, the notice period is 14 days (i.e. the tenant is given 14 days to vacate from the day they receive notice).

In many cases, serving a notice is enough to force tenants to vacate! However…

If notices are ignored…

Legalforlandlords has stated that it is very unlikely that a tenant will voluntarily vacate once a section 8 notice has been served as this notice is usually based on rent arrears, and normally when tenants are in arrears, they are unable to afford a deposit for a new rental property, so they remain in the property. Landlord’s usually have better luck when the notice is served for alternative grounds to rent arrears.

If your tenant ignores the notice served (whether it be a section 8 or 21), then you (the landlord) will have to apply to the court for a possession order. You can use the possession claim online service via the GOV website; the service lets you fill in court forms online and see how the claim is progressing. It costs £325.

It will take generally between 6-8 weeks for the judge to grant a possession order under section 8 or section 21.

If the possession order is ignored…

It’s not unusual for tenants to ignore the possession order granted by the court, which is normally a 14 day order. In these cases the landlord has to go to the final step, which is to apply for an eviction date with the County Court Bailiff, which can take between 5-10 weeks. The waiting time will depend on your court and the resources they have available.

According to Legalforlandlords, Landlords requiring court application based on a section 8 or section 21 notice is 75% and the process normally takes between 5-7 months, sometimes longer depending on the court. For example, courts that currently take longer are Central London, Clerkenwell & Shoreditch and Birmingham.

So, how long does an eviction take?

As said, it really does depend on the circumstances, and frustratingly, it’s usually out of the landlords hands! It can take anywhere between 14 days to several months.

What if you want to evict tenants quickly?

Hmm… nothing changes, unfortunately.

Unless the tenant agrees to voluntarily vacate, you can’t get them out of the property quickly. I’m not aware of any formal legal procedure that can assist in quick evictions, not even in the following common scenarios:

  • If the property is doing something illegal in the property, like operating a business without permission
  • If you wish to sell your BTL property
  • If accumulated rent arrears has made you default on mortgage payments

Many landlords try to persuade tenants to vacate with financial incentives, either by giving them money directly, or by reducing or completely revoking any rent arrears. Many tenants actually do leave on those conditions, but as a landlord, it’s a very difficult pill to swallow, especially if the tenant starts to try negotiating (which they often do).

Following the proper eviction procedures…

Just a word of caution before I sign off and sail off into the sunset.

While tenant evictions can typically take anywhere between 14 days and several months, I have heard of many cases where they have either dragged on for much longer, or at least, dragged on for much longer than necessary, because the proper procedures weren’t followed.

For the most efficient eviction, it’s important for landlords to stay legally compliant and to do things properly!

Going through an eviction? Need some advice?

If you would like some free legal advice or professional assistance with evicting your tenants, you can contact legalforlandlords.

If you’ve been through an eviction, I would love to hear your experience, along with any useful tips (if you have any)…

10 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Chris Bostock 8th January, 2020 @ 08:25

Rented out former home for 12 years. Use Managing Agents and have insurance to cover rent arrears and eviction process. Reliant on rent as retired and it's my pension. Your page has helped regarding possible time scale.

Guest Avatar
Mark 31st January, 2020 @ 19:51

Its a great thing that it takes so lon to get tenants out, gives the tenants plenty of breathing space and time to find somewhere else and without it sahntytowns and tents in car parks would be a much more commons site in the UK than they are now. Idd be on the streets now if this wasnt the way it was

Guest Avatar
mark 31st January, 2020 @ 19:54

I mean ideally it would be really great if tenants could just stay for years and stick their 2 fingers up at the landlord, but it still plenty of breathning space

Guest Avatar
Vikrant Gupta 1st August, 2020 @ 08:19

As a landlord I have filed a case against my tenant for eviction since 2014 and have cleared Title suit case in 2018.still he refused then we filed an Execution case against him in Jan which his appeal has been rejected but no further action carried out from between tenant has filed civil appeal in district court which also has been rejected in Feb 2020.Also,he has now moved to highcourt for second appeal.what should I do he is trying all delay tactics.During this 6 years time his rent is due and currently working in my godown.what should we do please help us out?

Vikrant Gupta

Guest Avatar
Andy 7th April, 2021 @ 02:27

Our landlord is the local authority. Our property is only supposed to be emergency temporary accommodation but obviously the pandemic hit so we’ve ended up being in the property longer than expected..... the council have now taken us to court for possession of our property, we have children so they will have to provide further emergency temporary accommodation so I don’t understand why they didn’t just let us stay here until we find another place. We have zero rent arrears and never had any complaints from neighbours!! It’s all a bit stupid if you ask me 🤔🤔🙄

Guest Avatar
Aby 13th April, 2021 @ 05:09

My tenanats and causing damage to the property and complaining to the council I've been given a informal list of thing's to do wich I am getting peaple to do they have been pulling plugs sockets out of the wall and radiators off their brackets light covers off bathroom light fittings then calling the council. It all started in the covid19 lockdown. Every time I mention to the tenanats we need to arrange time's and days we're I can make inspections they call the police and say I'm intimidating and harassing them all forms of communication has collapsed. I am communicating through the council inspecter to do works. they are making it as difficult as possible for even the work to be done . it's like they're not bothered at all.they are constantly trying to cause spending money in my house and I'm paying out blindfolded the boiler broke down five times in a short period door and window handles have also been damaged its getting stressful l I want them out of the house as soon as possible.i don't now we're to start

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Sue hynes 27th October, 2021 @ 15:34

Tenants won’t let me do an inspection and I know the place is needing jobs done,, one glance at the garden tells me I need to worry

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Alexandra Hall 28th January, 2022 @ 09:04

I'm a excellent paying tenant who needs some security to stay longterm in a property as covid has screwed up the chance to get a mortgage and was told my rental would be longterm.
After one year the landlord wont do another fixed term and has moved ne to a rolling contract.
This tells me they are planning on giving notice.
I would have to just keeping paying and ignore the notice as I literally will not have anywhere to go, credit rating is shot to pieces because of the pandemic.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 28th January, 2022 @ 10:05

Hi @Alexandra,

Sounds like you're just speculating at this point. I have a few tenants that have been on rolling contracts for several years. It doesn't necessarily mean the landlord wants to evict you.

Why don't you actually ask the landlord so you know what the situation is, because you might be worrying for nothing?

Guest Avatar
Lee 2nd May, 2022 @ 12:53

My landlord kept going on how he's never going to sell and that later on he'll retire in the flat I am renting, then out of the blue January 2nd 2022 he sends me a text telling me he is selling and that I should have expected it as all landlords sell in Jan? Told him I'd need more than the two months offered. It's now been three months and I can't find anything other than people trying to rent a tiny room for around £800pm. I'm just going to sit it out until it goes to the county court. Thanks for the info, I feel so sorry for all the people in my situation. 😧

















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