This is a question we are often asked by landlords and agents. It is a question that some landlords want to know purely out of interest, but in many cases, timescales can be crucial. There may be a family member poised to move into the property, or the property may be being sold, with either a purchaser pressing for a swift exchange and completion, or perhaps your plans for the sale proceeds hinging upon the vacant possession sale taking place as swiftly as possible.
The short answer is that the time it takes to obtain vacant possession can be near impossible to predict. There can – and often are – a variety of different variables that come into play. Some of the common factors that can impact include:-
- The tenant – will they be finding a new home themselves? If so, how quickly will they find accommodation? Will you need to serve a notice or will they move out voluntarily? Will they be seeking assistance from the council? Will the tenant vacate in accordance with any possession order?
- The tenancy paperwork – is all in order with the papers? Can you use the accelerated possession route or are you prohibited from doing so?
- The type of proceedings – will the accelerated possession route be used, or are standard possession proceedings being used? One may look quicker than the other on paper, but that may not always be the case in practice.
- The Court process – will the claim run smoothly? Will the Court misplace papers? How swiftly will the Court process papers? Will hearings be needed? If so, how quickly will they be listed? Will hearings actually take place when listed? How quickly can a bailiff eviction be listed, if needed?
The rough rule of thumb is that the accelerated possession process, from service of notice to bailiff eviction, can take between 5 and 8 months. Standard possession proceedings based on one or more Grounds can be swifter in some cases, much longer in other cases.
It is the ‘known unknowns’ that cause unpredictability. The safest advice therefore is bear the above in mind, and ensure you allow lots of time for the process.