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Section 21 Process Timetable

This gives an outline of the actions and durations of the process of gaining possession of a rental property using a Section 21 Notice. All actions assume tenant has not vacated the property in the mean time. This table is based on Central London County Court procedures. Other courts may vary a little.

We provide copies of our free Section 21 Notice.

A timetable of Section 21 Notice of possession

Below is a timetable setting out the stages for Accelerated Possession under Section 21 of the 1988 Housing Act. The  total duration from point A – K is approximately six months.

Stage Timing Action/Event Description Remarks
A 2 Months Plus before “Day Zero” Landlord issues
Sect 21 Notice
No legally prescribed format, but see Property Hawk version. If possible get dated receipt or proof of posting or witnessed delivery to address. For safety, the “Plus” should be more than one or two days. If posted, add further 2/3 days
B Some time in this interval Landlord gets court papers Form N5B possession Three copies needed (plus one for yourself). Complete in preparation for issue. See Property Hawk for tips in completing.
C Day Zero Last day of existing AST letting contract The “two months plus” notice is based on this date.
D Day Zero +1 Notional start of new/continuation contract This is same date as old contract assuming a 12 month AST. If original contract is less than one year, then date is notional start of continuation contract.
E Day Zero + 2 or 3 days Landlord delivers papers to court. 3 copies each of:
·     N5B form,
·     Tenancy Agreement,
·     Section 21 Notice and   proof of its delivery,
One cheque for £175
Send with short covering letter. Ensure cheque payee is correct, N5B forms do not show this.

Keep extra copy for yourself.

F 2 weeks (approx) later Court issues “Notice of Issue” This is sent to tenant & copied to Landlord informing tenant that repossession procedure has started. Gives tenant 2 weeks to issue a defence to the Notice, also gives a Claim Number to claim.
G 2 weeks + later Landlord returns Notice of Issue to court. This then becomes “Request for Possession order and costs”. Send to court after expiry of tenant’s time to issue defence.
H 2 weeks (approx) later Court issues “Order for Possession” Sent to tenant and landlord. Instructs tenant to give possession to landlord. Gives tenant a further 2 weeks to give up possession. Also allows either party to apply that it be set aside or varied.
I 2 weeks + later Landlord downloads and completes form N325. This is “Request for Warrant of Possession of Land” and asks the court to issue Bailiffs’ Warrant. Send to court with cheque for £110. Moneys owed to landlord depend on damage, dilapidations, deposit etc.
J Approx 1week later Court’s Bailiff Service sends instruction to bailiff company This tells bailiff company to set a date for a tenant’s eviction and so instruct tenant This is “a court document”, so landlord does not get a copy. Landlord must call court to find out when it was sent
K Up to 6 weeks later (and counting!) Bailiff company sends letter to tenant. This informs tenant of date of impending visit to effect eviction. This is also the trigger that gets the council to provide emergency accommodation.



I want to serve a Section 21 Eviction Notice on 6th September but I’m not sure whether it will last before I get a possession order due to the present ban on possession hearings and the bac k log at the Courts. When is the best time to proceed?

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