3. How long does the possession process take?
From start to finish, the length of any possession process will depend on the details of the situation, how busy the local court is and how co-operative the tenant is. Below is a rough guide of what to expect.
For Section 21:
A minimum of two months' notice must be given to the tenant. If they do not leave by this time, the case will need to be taken to court. After the court forms have been filed correctly, it will take 4-6 weeks for the order to be processed. If the claim is accepted, the judge will give the tenant a minimum of two weeks to leave. If the tenant still refuses to leave, court bailiffs will need to be paid to remove him/her, which can take weeks, depending on how busy they are.
For Section 8:
A minimum of two weeks' notice period must be given on the grounds of rent arrears (the notice period differs depending on the grounds used for possession, see Factsheet 8). If the tenant refuses to pay and/or leave by the time of expiry, a claim to the local court will need to be made. The time between the claim being lodged and the case hearing date is usually around two months. The court will then give the tenant at least two weeks to leave, and if they refuse to leave by this time, bailiffs will be required, which could add at least another two weeks onto the process.
These timings are only estimates and will differ from court to court in different localities. In some cases, the courts achieve faster processing times using the standard open court procedure than the Accelerated Possession Procedure (APP) so it is best to check with your local court first.