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How Long Will My Dispute Last?

Such is the impact of cuts and cost saving measures on the already hard-pressed Court Service staff that we are noticing that court proceedings are taking longer.


Proceedings by landlords for the removal of a tenant can be issued on the basis of an expired Section 21 Notice or Section 8 Notice. 

You can use an accelerated process only if you do not wish to claim for any rent arrears, interest or costs other than fixed costs.

Once the relevant Notice has expired, the proceedings are forwarded to the Court and the matter will be down for a hearing unless the accelerated process has been used. We now have the ability to use a system called PCOL for Non-Accelerated Proceedings (PCOL is not yet available for Accelerated Possession Proceedings).

It is a computer system which allows us to obtain court hearings online without sending the papers to the Court via post. We should get details of when the court hearing will take place shortly after entering your details online. Often we will get details of when the hearing will be the same day as making the application on-line. This does not mean the hearing will be the same day. It means that we may be able to tell you when the hearing will be shortly after you have instructed us.

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How can I fund my dispute?

How do I start proceedings against my tenant?

Success in these cases depends on submitting information in the correct format at the correct time. Most of these cases are thrown out because a simple clerical error was made in the forms or the landlord failed to correctly serve the required prescribed information. Access Legal can help you avoid these pitfalls.

If tenants fail to leave a property when a valid and properly served notice expires then we would apply to the county court in the area in which your property is situated for a possession order. Access Legal can prepare everything the court will need to see: claim form for possession of property and the tenancy agreement as well as a copy of the notice and evidence of its service.

We will also need to present evidence that a deposit has been placed into a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme and of course payment for the court fee (details of which can be obtained by searching for leaflet EX50 on The Court Service website).

If the property is a House in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) or is in an area designated for licensing by the local authority, we will need to provide a copy of the licence or evidence that one has been applied for. The tenants will have 14 days from the date your claim is served on them to send their defence (if any) to the court stating why they oppose the claim or seek a postponement of possession on grounds of 'exceptional hardship'.

How long before I can get the tenant out of the property?

Once a possession order has expired, should the tenant not vacate, the County Court Bailiff may be instructed. That process can take a further 4-6 weeks. The whole process can take up to four months from when we are instructed to obtaining possession of the property. In more complicated matters (for instance where a tenant makes allegations of deposit irregularity, harassment or dilapidations) then the process can take longer to resolve.

How long will it take for the case to come to trial?

Please note that under the Court's own rules, the court cannot set the hearing date any earlier than four weeks from the date of the issue of the proceedings online. Access Legal will book an advocate to attend the hearing on your behalf. However, there will still be a need for either you or your representative to attend. If it is your intention to send a representative we will need to discuss with you whether they will be suitable as they may be called on to give evidence.

More about managing a dispute with tenants

At that hearing we will ask the Court to make an order for possession and issue a money judgment for any rent arrears, mesne profit (rate for use and occupation arising between the hearing date and the eventual eviction of the tenant), interest and full costs - a schedule of which will have been filed prior to the hearing.

Our Experts

  • Lisa Paul - Access Legal Landlord Law Team Leader

    Lisa Paul

    Team leader

    Disputes, Landlord and tenant

    Lisa is a Team Leader within the Property Litigation and Landlord & Tenant Team.

    View full profile
  • Lauren Faherty, Access Legal Landlord Law Team

    Lauren Robinson

    Chartered Legal Executive

    Disputes, Landlord and tenant

    Lauren joined Access Legal in December 2014 as a Trainee Paralegal whilst undertaking her exams to become a Chartered Legal Executive Lawyer (CILEx). Lauren qualified as a Fellow of the Institute in December 2018.

    View full profile

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