So I’ve Served My Tenant with a Section 21 Notice – What’s Next?
21st April 2017
Sending, or “serving” as it is formally called, a section 21 notice is only the first step to evicting a tenant after the end of a fixed term.
After making sure you have served the correct notice (find out more here) you must then wait the appropriate period of time before issuing the claim.
The notice you must give your tenant depends on how frequently they pay rent. If the rent is due monthly then you must give 2 months’ notice. If you do not wait long enough after issuing the claim then a Judge is likely to strike out your claim for possession and you will have to start again.
- What sort of claim?
Once you have waited the required period and the tenant hasn’t vacated then you will need to issue proceedings in the county court. You can issue the usual method or the accelerated method.
You can only use this method where you are not claiming any money from the tenant. If your tenant is in rent arrears, as well as being outside the fixed term of the tenancy, then you must issue in the usual way.
The Accelerated Method is, as the name suggests, faster. Usually it won’t involve a court hearing but the tenant will be able to put forward objections. A Judge will then consider the objections and will list it for a hearing if there is any merit to them. Such issues include: failure to comply with deposit rules, failure to obtain an energy performance certificate, failure to state the correct date for issuing etc.
For this method you use an ordinary claim form and the tenant has an opportunity to file a defence. This method will usually be used where you are claiming for rent arrears and evicting at the end of the fixed term. This is not the procedure where the reason for the eviction is rent arrears. Please read Which Notice for more information.
If you have issued via the Accelerated Method and there are no legitimate objections raised then you will receive an order for possession.
If you have issued via the normal method you will receive a Notice of Hearing and will have to attend court before a District Judge. It will be your responsibility to ensure the Judge has sufficient information and is convinced that a possession order and judgment for the arrears will be granted. You can file a witness statement ahead of the hearing if the content of the claim form is not sufficiently detailed to deal with your circumstances.
Obtaining a possession order does not necessarily mean the tenant will vacate. You will then need to instruct a bailiff or a sheriff.