Tenant evictions costing landlords £2,000 and nine months of misery

According to research by online agents StudentTenant.com, UK landlords could be looking at nine months in time and £2,000 in costs to legally evict a tenant.

Rent prices are set to rise faster than house prices over the next five years. And with UK landlords already feeling the pinch of tenant arrears, further time and money spent on a tenant evictions is another sad fact of rental life.

How much does it cost to evict a tenant?

If you’re doing it legally, nearly £2,000 in court eviction fees. And if rent arrears are outstanding, you could also be forced to pay further fees to get these back. So landlord legal expenses insurance might be worth a look, if you’re at the start of an eviction saga.

According to StudentTenant, the £2,000 cost is almost entirely taken up with hiring a ‘well-known, reputable’ residential eviction specialist, to help navigate the increasingly tricky process of removing an unwanted tenant from your property. The average overall fee is £1,981.

What do tenant eviction court costs pay for?

Breaking it down further, here’s what the best part of £2,000 will be going on, before your property is back at your disposal:

Cost of a Section 21 Notice: £120

This is the notice you’ll need to serve to the tenant, giving them two months’ notice of your intention to evict. Even then, the tenant isn’t legally required to leave, and many will be advised to stay where they are by local housing charities and councils, as leaving before the court-set eviction date would mean they’d left ‘voluntarily’. After the eviction date, the current regulations would class the former tenant as homeless.

Cost of a Property Possession Order: £685

If your tenant doesn’t leave (and many don’t), you’ll need to apply to the courts for a possession order to get the property back under your control. Remember, courts are busy places, so plan for this to take at least four to six months to go through.

Cost of a bailiff: £1,176

Make that a High Court bailiff.

Once your possession order (see above) has been granted, you’ll get a date (set by the court) for the tenant to leave. This is usually between four to six weeks, and it’s only court bailiffs who have the legal right to remove tenants from properties.

Arrears and damage costs causing further pain

That’s the court costs, but what about the cost of rental arrears whilst your tenant refuses to budge? If they’re withholding rent throughout the eviction process, you could easily be owed thousands in rental arrears.

And once you’ve finally regained control of the property, it may not be a pretty sight. Landlords can expect to pay further enormous bills for damage caused by tenants refusing to leave, especially if they haven’t been able to gain access for months at a time to see to any maintenance.

And how long will it take to regain control of my property?

Get ready to see upwards of six months go by before you’re able to to remove the tenant. The exact time you’ll be waiting depends on how the tenant plans to defend themselves in court. If the court eviction order is left undefended, you could be waiting four months. If they seek defence, this could stretch to nine months or more.

Have you experienced difficulties in removing a tenant? Let us know in the comments.

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