Getting a Section 21 notice can be a scary time. Many think that they’ll need to leave their homes immediately and this instantly brings fears of being homeless. Thankfully, the process takes time, so you don’t need to panic.
But exactly how long does a Section 21 eviction process take? That’s what we’re here to tell you. We’ll inform you how long it takes along with other key information such as what you can do about it. Read on to find out more!
What is a Section 21 Eviction?
The Section 21 eviction is a process that landlords can use to reclaim their property. It is commonly used so they can avoid selling a tenanted property, and can instead sell a vacant one. A less formal name for it is ‘no fault’ evictions as the landlord doesn’t require a reason for you to be evicted. Note that, unless the tenancy is near its end, these notices cannot be given if the tenant is contracted to live there.
The Section 21 notice needs to be served to the tenant and will give them at least two months to leave the property. However, this doesn’t mean that a tenant has to leave at this point, as the landlord will then need to apply for a possession order.
How Long Does a Section 21 Eviction Process Take?
There is no set time for the completion of a Section 21 eviction, as it depends on how quickly the courts can process the application.
As mentioned, the first stage is the tenant being served the Section 21 notice. From this point, the tenant with have at least two months to leave but the landlord can decide to give the tenant more time.
When this period ends, the landlord is not allowed to evict a tenant. Nor can they hire someone to evict them before they have received a possession order.
Many tenants will use the Section 21 notice period to find somewhere else to live and move out before the notice period ends.
This is ultimately the best thing for both parties, unless the eviction can be prevented by other means. A tenant won’t want to be forcibly evicted, and a landlord wants to avoid the time and cost of going through the courts.
If it does end up going to the courts, it can drag on considerably. At best it can take several weeks but the process can take months. It all depends on the backlog the court has and how quickly they can process claims.
In some cases, the tenant may decide to challenge the eviction by contesting the Section 21 notice or by defending the possession order application in court. This can further delay the process, and it may take several months before the case is heard in court and a decision is made.
Can I Delay or Prevent a Section 21 Eviction?
There are a couple of ways that a tenant can delay or prevent the process. Firstly, is to negotiate with the landlord and ask them to stop the process. This can often be achieved by solving the initial issue, such as paying any rent arrears.
The second way to do it is to challenge the notice through the courts, which can often be done using an N244 form. Here you can only argue against the legalities of the notice. For example, the notice will be invalid if the landlord hadn’t protected your deposit and hasn’t returned it to you.
Another reason you can argue against a Section 21 is if they haven’t given you adequate notice. There are a few other reasons why a Section 21 notice may be invalid, and if you want to fight it this way, the best idea is to get legal advice.
What To Do When You Are Issued a Section 21 Notice
If you’ve received a Section 21 notice, then you don’t need to panic. Not only do you have plenty of time to find new accommodation, but the council will also help to find you somewhere to live.
The first thing you need to consider is whether you want to stay in the home you’re in right now. If so, then try to negotiate with the landlord and resolve the situation. Often an agreement can be reached but if they are adamant about evicting you, then you’ll need to leave if the notice is valid.
You may want to challenge the validity of the notice and whether it was served properly. If you feel as though you have a strong case, then it’s best to get legal help.
The reality for most tenants, however, is that it would make sense to start looking for alternative accommodation as soon as you can. What you don’t want to happen is bury your head in the sand and end up being evicted by bailiffs.
If there’s no negotiating with the landlord, then it’s best to be proactive and focus on where you are going to live next. This way, you can minimize the impact on your life and look forward to putting the Section 21 notice behind you.
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