The question of eviction cost is really important if you want to recover possession of your property. There are a number of things to consider. For example:
- How much will the solicitors and other fees cost?
- How much will you lose if you don’t evict or evict slowly?
- How much will it cost you if you mess it up and have to atart again?
Lets look first at the fees element.
Fees for evicting tenants
At the time of writing the court fees for evicting tenants are
- £355 – County Court standard fee
- £325 – Possession Claims Online fee (can only be used for rent arrears claims)
- £110 – Bailiff’s fee
Those are quite hefty fees, before you have even paid for advice. But what is the eviction cost for someone to do it for you?
Here are two reputable and well-known firms doing eviction work::
- £120 – Eviction notice (including service)
- £850 – Getting the Court Order
- £250 – County Court Bailiff or
- £780 – High Court Enforcement Officer (but be careful about this as there have been problems recently).
These fees are from the Landlord Action website and are for them to do the work for you as your solicitors – including court fees and VAT.
- £55 – Preparing notice (does not include service)
- £825 – Court Proceedings (where there is a hearing) – or £120 – no case checker or representation, excluding court fee
- £655 – Accelerated proceedings (section 21 claims only, no court hearings) – or £80 – no case checker, excluding. Court fee
- £120 – bailiffs – or £50 if issued by you, both excluding court fee.
Bear in mind that Moore Blatch’s quoted fees do not include the court fees – so this would make the standard court proceedings £1,150 and the accelerated procedure claim costs £1,010 once this is factored in.
Also note that these fees were copied from both websites on 22 March 2016. If you are reading this post later they may have changed.
Both these firms are very good and are solicitors regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (Landlord Action are not strictly speaking a solicitors firm but they are regulated and solicitors are employed to do the work). I’m not going to quote any other firms because after doing some searching I found that
- Solicitors firms generally do not publish detailed fees online
- Most eviction companies who do publish fees do not appear to be actually solicitors but companies who prepare the paperwork for you so you can act in person yourself.
You need to be careful about using a company which is not a firm of solicitors as they may not have the expertise or the indemnity insurance to cover them if they get it wrong.
If you are a member of a Landlords Association, they may also be able to assist. For example the RLA (joining fee £80) will provide
- A section 8 notice for £80
- A section 21 notice for £80 and
- A completed court form for the accelerated procedure for £150
- There is also a telephone advice line
Other landlord associations may provide similar services.
The Landlord Law Service
Naturally, I am going to let you know about my service! My Landlord Law site has a detailed guide to bringing proceedings based on my 20 years or so experience as a solicitor in bringing eviction claims.
I should add that I am no longer a solicitor as I closed my law firm down in 2013 (to concentrate on other work) – but I have not forgotten how to do it! However, as I am no longer a solicitor authorised to represent clients in litigation, my service is limited to providing advice and guidance to help you do it yourself. For many landlords, this is all they want.
You can get access to the Eviction Guide by joining Landlord Law as a +Plus member which will cost you
- £120 for six months or
- £225 for a year (annual membership also includes a free telephone advice call with me)
- There is also a £25 pm membership but this does not include the eviction guide (although it does include the notices and other eviction related services)
There are also several online analysis tools to help you find the right type of proceedings for your situation and we have all the possession notices for you to prepare yourself (with guidance on drafting and service).
>> This page has a summary of the eviction services and guidance available.
If members need representation at the court hearing, they also have access, via Landlord Law, to one of the best advocacy services available for possession claims, which will cost £180.
The Landlord Law solution is very cost effective but does involve a lot of input from you. It is not an easy option but it is arguable that landlords who learn how to do it themselves – properly – will become better landlords. As they will understand the rules better. And it is, so long as you follow the instructions carefully and are sensible about it – not THAT hard.
You also get access to all the other Landlord Law services (eg tenancy agreements) as part of your membership.
Lets now look at some of the other costs involved.
The cost of delay
This can be substantial if your tenant is not paying rent. It can take many months to get back vacant possession:
- The notice period can last anything up to three months for a section 21 notice (sometimes longer) or three weeks (taking into account service) for a rent arrears based section 8 notice.
- The ‘accelerated procedure’ will take between six to ten weeks depending on how busy the court is and standard proceedings will generally list the hearing some six to eight weeks after issue of the proceedings.
- Once you have got your possession order it can take anything between three weeks and three months to get a bailiffs appointment. Again depending on how busy the court is.
So if it takes you six months to obtain possession (if you are lucky) then if your tenant is failing to pay £1,000 per month rent – that is £6,000 lost. However, if you delay you could find yourself facing a much bigger bill.
Tip – don’t delay proceedings just because tenants in arrears of rent promise to pay. Often they won’t and you will end up losing more time. What they are in effect doing is negotiating a longer rent free period in your property …
Tell them that you will consider halting proceedings AFTER thay have paid you. They are the ones in breach of contract after all – not you.
Be aware also that it is rare for landlords to recover unpaid rent from evicted tenants – generally if they had any money the tenants would have used it to pay their rent. If they don’t have money – you can’t make any recovery. As you cannot get blood from a stone, you cannot recover money from tenants who don’t have any.
The cost of getting it wrong
This can be even more serious. If the Judge kicks out your case because, say, you have made a mistake with your paperwork:
- You will have wasted the six months or so it has taken you to get to court
- You will probably have to wait another six months or so before you can get your case before the court again, and
- The Judge may order you to pay your tenants costs, if they were represented
This could be catastrophic and I have known landlords lose many, many thousands. It is essential, if you issue proceedings, that you get it right. Gung ho issuing of proceedings without checking things carefully first can end up being an expensive mistake.
So if you have never used the courts before and don’t know what you are doing – DON’T do it yourself without assistance.
Hopefully you will never need to evict your tenant. It is a horrible thing to have to do. However if you DO have to do it, you don’t want to lose any more time or money that you have to.
If you are short of cash – the Landlord Law option is there for you. I can give a certain amount of support but be aware that you will have to do all the work yourself. I actually get very little feedback from Landlord Law members (always a good sign) so I assume that they generally get their possession orders with no problem.
However if you are uncertain of the procedure and worried about your ability to deal with it – I would strongly recommend you use a service such as Landlord Action or Moore Blatch.
Whoever you use though – be very careful. Many solicitors firms will not be specialists in this area. Be particularly wary if they are charging on a ‘time costing’ basis – they will probably be charging you for looking up how to do it!
However, you need to be even more careful with firms who are not regulated solicitors. Do they really know what they are doing? Can you trust them to deal with things promptly? Do they have professional indemnity insurance to cover them if they mess up?
Evicting tenants is not a nice experience but choose wisely and you can minimise the damage and loss.
“I became a subscriber of Landlord Law/Tessa Shepperson when my tenant went into arrears. The tenant arrears and eviction kits really helped me to understand what I should not do, what I needed to do and in what order and the document templates were really important in getting me started in the right way.
I could not have managed without this clear step by step process. It really did clear away the fog. It truly turned a daunting prospect into a manageable task.
But importantly I learned a lot more about being a landlord and the law during this whole process.” Deryn Gray, Landlord