Coronavirus Legislation on Evictions

Following a decision by the Master of the Rolls with the Lord Chancellor's agreement, the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession actions – this means that neither cases currently in the (or any about to go in the) system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted. This suspension of housing possession actions will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed. This measure will protect all private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. It will apply to both England and Wales.

Practice Direction

A new Practice Direction has been released (PD 51Z) stating:

"All proceedings for possession brought under CPR Part 55 and all proceedings seeking to enforce an order for possession by a warrant or writ of possession are stayed for a period of 90 days from the date this Direction comes into force."

Therefore:

  • All new notices served must give three months before expiry;
  • possession orders will not be granted during the relevant period; and
  • possession orders already granted will be temporarily unenforceable.

Moving Forward

The first thing to note is that this only effects residential evictions, and not commercial eviction.

Even for residential evictions however, there will still be merit in serving notice, as you can then raise your claim as soon as the 90 day period concludes. Further, if you are relying on a s21 Notice, then that would have required two months to expire in any event.

If you have served a notice and it has expired, there may also still be some merit in preparing a claim for the Court to issue. At worst, it will mean that your claim is first in the queue when eviction proceedings recommence. At best, there is some indication the courts may progress certain claims to the point where all that is required is the possession hearing itself. You will also be putting some pressure on your tenant to negotiate of leave voluntarily.

 

For more information please conact Oliver Kew on 0118 9559612 or at o.kew@hewetts.co.uk.

Published on 01/04/2020

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