We previously discussed the effect of the Coronavirus Act 2020 on possession claims and the changes introduced to the court procedures on possession claims in our earlier articles which can be accessed here and here.
It has been open to the parties to reactivate stayed possession claims and to issue new claims since 21 September 2020. Since that date all claims, stayed and new, are subject to the amended court procedures as set out in the Practice Direction 55C. Whilst one can issue and progress possession claims through the Court, once a possession order is obtained, evictions have again been put on hold owing to the risks involved in bailiffs attending properties to evict tenants.
Initially, on the introduction of the tier system of coronavirus restrictions at the beginning of November, evictions were halted in England on the request of the Lord Chancellor. This temporary restriction has since been regularised and clarified by The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 which came into force on 17 November 2020. The Regulations prohibit the service of eviction notices on tenants and the execution of existing Warrants of Possession and Warrants of Restitution until 11 January 2021.
A new addition to the possession procedure, are notices of the eviction appointment which bailiffs are required to serve on tenants giving them 14 days’ notice of the eviction appointment. As such, if an eviction notice was served on the tenants before the Regulations came into force on 17 November, the earliest date that the eviction will be able to take place is 12 January 2021. In cases where the notice is yet to be served, eviction will not be possible before 25 January 2021. However, as we have seen with the restrictions introduced by the Coronavirus Act 2020, this may be further extended.
There are some narrow exceptions to this ban, which include cases involving anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and very high rent arrears.
If you have any queries on the new changes or require advice on specific cases, please do not hesitate to contact one of the expert solicitors in our Property Litigation department:
Alan Dixon – Partner - 0207 549 7895 - A.Dixon@dklm.co.uk
Michael Adamson - Senior Associate - 0207 549 7872 - M.Adamson@dklm.co.uk
Agnieszka Nowak – Solicitor – 0207 549 7450 – A.Nowak@dklm.co.uk