New measures for possession proceedings
New streamlined procedures that make it easier for landlords to use a High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) to evict residential tenants came into force on 23rd August 2020.
In preparation for the lifting of the moratorium on residential evictions on 23rd August, the Government has announced a new statutory instrument covering possession proceedings - The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 4) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020 2020 No. 751 (L. 17) - which comes into force on 23rd August.
In preparation for the backlog of cases, and to protect vulnerable tenants, the Government has announced further measures once courts do reopen.
If you are a landlord and have a possession proceeding waiting for a hearing, then you will also have to do the following:
- Inform both the court and the tenant in writing after the stay ends on 23rd August that you wish to proceed to court. This reactivation notice must be sent for the possession hearing to go ahead
- Provide any relevant information about the position of the tenant. This includes information that is known about the tenant and any dependents with regards to vulnerability, disability, and social security as well as detail about if any occupants are shielding
- To provide evidence of the total amount of arrears owed in advance of the hearing
Hearings spread out
Court hearings are likely to need to be spread out to avoid bunching, so the court will fix a date either on or after issue, and there will be a suspension of the usual 8-week period between the issue of a claim form and the actual hearing itself.
It must be noted that the above procedures must be carried out so that a court hearing can go ahead, any landlord who has been waiting for a hearing will certainly not wish to further delay their case being heard.
We therefore suggest that you gather the evidence and information required so you do not experience a further delay to gaining possession of your, or your client’s, property.
This instrument inserts into Part 55 of the CPR a new rule which provides the basis for a new, temporary Practice Direction 55C supplementing Part 55 (“PD55C”). PD55C (which is available on the Ministry of Justice website.
If you have any questions or need further assistance, then please get in touch with the team.