Who pays court costs for an eviction?
Who pays court costs for an eviction?
No matter where you make your home, it’s easy to get attached and it can hurt if you’re asked to leave. Some tenants go easy, packing up their things with minimal fuss or resistance, while others might refuse to go at all — arguing against their eviction until they’re blue in the face instead. But no matter how things go down, there are usually some costs involved. In 2021, most UK evictions racked up a bill of around £1,300 or £2,200 depending on whether the case went to county court or high court. That’s no small amount of money!
If you’re in this situation, you might be wondering who pays court costs for an eviction? And, how much does it all cost anyway? Well stick with us, we’ll take you through the answers to both of these questions and more…
Who pays court costs for an eviction UK?
As a general rule of thumb, a landlord is responsible for their court costs and legal fees (if they hire an attorney to help) when it comes to evictions. But to give you the full picture, there are still a few ways you might find a landlord hands off some of the expenses to their tenants, such as…
- If there was a clause about who pays court costs for an eviction in the tenancy agreement.
- If the tenant has behaved unreasonably and added to their landlord’s costs.
- If a judge awards a possession order with costs — that means tenants must leave their landlord’s property before a given deadline and pay off some/all of the court costs.
Let’s go through these scenarios in a little more detail… First up, if there’s a clause around eviction costs written in a tenancy agreement, it’s usually stated that a tenant would need to breach their tenancy agreement to be charged. After all, it wouldn’t be fair to ask a tenant to pay for their own eviction if their landlord simply wanted the property back to sell. But let’s say you threw raging parties every weeknight or started a secret Airbnb in your basement — that’s the sort of thing that could land a tenant with the bill for their eviction.
But even if a tenancy agreement doesn’t specifically mention court costs or eviction notices, a tenant can still be ordered to pay a fee for unreasonable behaviour. This usually happens if a tenant has cost their landlord money — late rent or damage to the property, for example. Another outcome is that a judge awards a “possession order” with costs. In this case, the tenant would have a deadline to move out of the property and sometimes, be made responsible for some/all of the court costs.
Basically, if you’re a well-behaved, 5-star, no complaints tenant and you’ve been evicted? You shouldn’t need to worry about paying any eviction or court costs. If you have an assured shorthold tenancy (the most common kind), you’ll also have a good level of security of tenure which means you’re entitled to a set amount of notice before your landlord can repossess the property.
Quick note: Renters have rights and there are rules for an eviction that every landlord must follow. If you believe you’re being evicted unlawfully, learn what to do next by reading: ‘How to deal with a landlord who is unreasonable’.
How much is a court order for eviction?
So regardless of who’s paying — how much is this all going to cost? Well, it really depends on how far the process goes, how much help a landlord brings in, and how quickly they want everything ironed out.
Here’s a quick breakdown of all the possible costs…
- Serving notice — around £100
- Eviction specialist — around £500
- Standard or accelerated possession order — £355
- County court bailiff — around £350 OR high court bailiff — around £1,200
There are a couple of pieces here that are optional. For example, a landlord might bring in an eviction specialist to help them manage the paperwork correctly. This isn’t compulsory, but it does save time and money in the long run. Someone who knows what they’re doing will speed up the eviction process and make sure everything is filled in correctly the first time around. Eviction specialists are also much cheaper than solicitors who can charge as much as £3,000 or more for an eviction.
The next cost choice is what kind of bailiff service a landlord chooses. A bailiff service is basically when you send in the heavies to get a tenant to leave a property. They’re trained to put the pressure on and make sure a landlord gets their property back asap. The choices are county court bailiff (cheaper option) or high court bailiff (quite a bit more spenny) — with the key difference being how long it will take for a landlord to regain possession of their property. A county court bailiff could take 6 - 12 weeks, whereas a high court bailiff could do it in as little as 7 days.
Do I have to pay rent after eviction notice UK?
If you’re a tenant who’s being evicted, you might be feeling a little reluctant when it comes to paying the monthly rent. Unfortunately, you are legally required to keep paying rent until your tenancy has officially ended. This is still the case if you’ve been issued a Section 21 notice and you can get into trouble if you refuse.
To find out more about what to do after getting an eviction notice, read: ‘Landlord eviction notice: a guide’.
A few final tips…
As stressful as eviction proceedings can be, you can rest assured that there is help available whether you’re a landlord or a tenant. Get in touch with Citizens Advice if you’ve been evicted or check out Landlord Action if you’re the one doing the evicting.
While you’re here, why not read up on ‘What is a landlord and what are their responsibilities?'
If you’re a tenant thinking of making a move, check out: ‘How much notice to give landlord’.
Urban Jungle is not a financial advisor and information in this article should not be taken as advice or recommendation.