Average Cost of a Residential Eviction 2020

From start to finish, it typically costs either £1,300 or £2,200 to evict a tenant from your residential rental property. Below we explain the cost differences between using a county court bailiff vs. High Court Enforcement Officer, as well as cost breakdowns for each stage of the eviction process.

How Much Does it Cost to Evict a Tenant?

In most cases it costs either £1,300 or £2,200 to evict a tenant in the UK, depending on whether you go with the cheaper-but-slower county court or you spend more for a speedier High Court eviction. Either way, you'll incur costs during each of the three stages of eviction. First, let's look at overall costs of country court vs. High Court evictions.

Average Cost of a County Court Eviction

A county court eviction costs £1,300 on average and is relatively slow—it can take 6 weeks in a smaller town or 10 to 12 weeks in a large city, or more depending on the case load. Here is a breakdown of the expected costs for each step of the eviction process when you go the country court route.

County Court Eviction Cost
Stage 1: Serving Notice£99
Stage 2: Possession Order (online)£883
Stage 3: Bailiff to Enforce Possession Order (County Court)£348
Total Cost: County Court Eviction£1,330

If your debt if under £600 you can only use a county court eviction. For debt between £600 and £5,000 you can use county court or transfer up to High Court. Above £5,000 in rent owed, you're required to transfer to High Court to complete the eviction process. Next let's see how much that costs in comparison.

Average Cost of a High Court Eviction

A High Court eviction costs £2,200 on average and is significantly faster than using county court—a High Court eviction can take just 7 days, shaving weeks or months off of the time for a county court eviction.

While a High Court eviction costs around £900 more than a county court eviction, many landlords take this faster route so they can re let their property to a paying tenant sooner. Here is a breakdown of the expected costs for each step of the eviction process when you transfer to the High Court.

High Court Eviction Cost
Stage 1: Serving Notice£99
Stage 2: Possession Order (online)£883
Stage 3: Bailiff to Enforce Possession Order (High Court)£1,219
Total Cost: High Court Eviction£2,200

As you can see in the two tables above, it's only in Step 3 where you have to decide between county court and High Court. Costs are the same for the first two steps regardless of whether you have a county court or High Court eviction.

Eviction Costs by Stage

Let's now look at average costs for each of the three stages of the eviction process in the UK. Your total costs of dealing with a non-paying tenant will depend on how far along the process you need to go before they pay their outstanding rent or move out. Here are the three steps:

If a tenant pays their outstanding rent or moves out after you serve notice, for instance, you won't need to proceed with steps 2 and 3 of the eviction process. Here are typical costs for each step of the process to give you an idea of your costs along the way:

Stage 1 Serving Notice: Average Cost £99

The average cost to serve a Section 8 or 21 notice on a tenant is £99 including VAT. This assumes your paperwork is all in order and your notice is straightforward. For this price, your eviction specialist should:

  • Set up your file
  • Assess the paperwork
  • Give advice
  • Draft and serve a Section 8 or Section 21 notice by post on tenant and one guarantor

A Section 8 notice can be served when your tenant is in arrears or in breach of contract. The costs for serving notice might be higher if your paperwork is not in order or if you require a Section 8 for grounds other than non-payment of rent.

Note: your tenant must be at least 2 months or 8 weeks (depending on if your contract is pcm or pw) behind in their rent for a Section 8 notice to be served on mandatory ground 8. (Mandatory means the judge must grant possession if the landlord proves the ground exists.)

Stage 2 Court Order to Evict a Tenant: Average Cost £883

The average cost to obtain a possession order from the court is £883.

If your tenant has not moved out or paid their outstanding rent by the end of the notice period from stage 1, then you'll need to start possession proceedings. This involves getting a court order for possession. The average cost of £883 includes eviction specialist and solicitor fees, VAT and court fees. Here is a breakdown of the costs to get an eviction court order:

Cost of Court Order for Eviction
Average eviction specialist fee, ex VAT£465
VAT£93
Possession order court fees£325
Total Cost for Stage 2, Court Order to Evict a Tenant£883

Note: the £325 court fee listed above reflects the cost of using the online service. If you can't use the online service (e.g., some kinds of standard possession claim such as trespass on your property or tenants breaking the terms of the lease) then you'll need to fill in and post paperwork. This process costs £355, which is £30 more expensive than the £325 online fee.

Stage 3 Bailiffs to Evict a Tenant: Average Cost £348 (county court) or £1,219 (High Court)

The average cost of getting bailiffs to evict your tenant is £348 if you use county court and £1,219 if you use the High Court.

These costs include court fees (e.g., £121 to ask the court for a "warrant for possession", £66 to get a "writ of possession" to transfer the warrant to the High Court), paying the bailiff and paying your eviction specialist/solicitor. You will need to move to Stage 3 of an eviction when your tenant has ignored the possession order from Stage 2 and you want to ask the court for a 'warrant for possession' so that a bailiff can evict your tenant.

High Court Bailiffs Eviction Cost

Why is a high court eviction so expensive? A high court eviction uses a specific type of bailiff called "High Court Enforcement Officers" (HCEOs). HCEOs typically cost £250 to £300 per hour, and two will be sent to your property for the eviction. So you'll spend upwards of £500 on the bailiffs alone if you transfer the warrant to the high court.

Why would you want to transfer the warrant from the county court to the High Court? It's a lot faster. Instead of taking 6 to 12 weeks in normal times with the county court, you can get physical possession of your property in as little as 7 days if you transfer to the High Court. An eviction specialist can advise you of current waiting times for both options in your local area.

Given the hundreds or thousands of pounds that a landlord is likely to lose in rent payments while they wait for the county court bailiffs, many landlords opt to transfer to the High Court. You're able to do so if the amount owed is at least £600; and if the rent arrears top £5,000 you're actually required to transfer to the High Court anyway.

What your eviction fees go towards

While eviction costs sound high, keep in mind that they cover four different types of fees:

  • Professional fees (eviction specialists and solicitors): To give advice, help you correctly fill out paperwork and manage the process
  • Court fees: Required for Step 2 (court order/possession order) and Step 3 (Warrant for possession/write for possession leading to bailiff eviction)
  • Bailiff fees: Pay bailiff to evict your tenants as part of Step 3
  • VAT: Not charged on court fees

How to Save Money on Evicting a Tenant

One way to save money on evicting your non-paying tenants is to use an eviction specialist. They can save you money in the long term by ensuring that your paperwork is filled out and filed correctly (issues that can arise if you try to do it yourself), reducing costly errors that can delay the eviction process.

An eviction specialist can also be cheaper than a solicitor. Eviction specialists can deal with thousands of cases a year, and can keep prices cheaper because they work in bulk. On the other hand a solicitor who does a relatively small number of cases a year can end up costing £3k to £4k or more for an eviction.

That said, carry out due diligence before you sign up with an eviction specialist. It's an industry where you'll find companies that have been shut down, only to reopen under another name. Ask how long a company has been in operation, and avoid any deals that seem too cheap. They might really be too good to be true.

To save money in the long term you can also buy rent guarantee insurance, which covers you for lost rental income if your tenant stops paying (for a limited time, usually for 6 or 12 months) and is an option add-on to your landlord insurance. Rent guarantee insurance also usually comes with legal expenses cover, which would take care of most of these eviction costs.

Rent guarantee insurance costs around £46 a year for a typical property (adding very roughly 25% to basic landlord building insurance costs), which is really quite low when you take into account the costs to evict and the potential for lost rental income.

FAQs

An eviction notice costs around £99 including VAT in the UK, if you use an eviction specialist.

Obtaining a court order (i.e., possession order) for an eviction typically costs around £883—£325 of court fees plus around another £465 + VAT for an eviction specialist to provide professional help in obtaining the court order.

If you transfer your warrant to the High Court (for a faster eviction or as required if your tenant owes more than £5k), you'll pay around £500 for High Court Enforcement Officers, which are a special type of bailiff. They cost £250 to £300 per hour and usually two will attend. Bailiffs for a county court eviction cost considerably less.

Time and rent owed. A High Court eviction is much faster, taking as little as 7 days to complete compared to the 6 to 12 weeks of a country court bailiff eviction. (A county court eviction in a big city like London or Manchester typically takes 10 to 12 weeks; a county court eviction in a smaller town might only take 6 weeks.) Additionally, if the amount owed by the tenant is over £5,000 then you must transfer to the High Court.

In the UK, a landlord can begin the eviction process after 2 months of non payment (or 8 weeks if you pay per week). At that point they can serve a Section 8 notice on ground 8. If the landlord can prove the tenant hasn't paid, the judge must grant the possession order (see the costs and stages of eviction here).

In the UK, the average time to evict a tenant is 44.5 weeks, but half of evictions are completed within 20.3 weeks.

Methodology

To find average costs to evict a tenant in the UK we surveyed half a dozen prominent eviction specialists in the UK to learn about their fee structures for each step of the eviction process. We then averaged the quotes we received to arrive at average costs for eviction. Depending on your situation you may pay more or less. Use this information as a guide only.

Comments