The Government brought in emergency legislation on 27 March 2020 preventing Landlords from obtaining possession of properties or enforcing possession orders already obtained for a period of 90 days. We previously reported on this in June 2020 when the Government announced it would extend the stay for a further eight weeks until 23 August 2020.
Whilst the stay was welcomed by millions of Tenants throughout the UK, Landlords were unable to obtain possession of their premises regardless of the type or severity of a Tenant's breaches. However, from 24 August 2020 Landlords are able to continue with existing proceedings or commence fresh possession proceedings against their Tenants.
With effect from 24 August 2020, Practice Direction ("PD") 55C of the Civil Procedure Rules implements requirements of Landlords depending on when the possession claim was first issued. Therefore, it is imperative that Landlords seeking possession of the property ensure compliance with PD 55C. Our litigation team are able to offer specialist guidance on the implications of the new rules.
The most notable change is that Landlords will be required to provide notice to the Court confirming their knowledge as to the effect that Covid-19 has had on the Tenants and their dependants. This requirement seeks to achieve a balance between Landlords and Tenants. It will enable the court to consider the Tenant's financial circumstances and determine whether possession of the property should be granted.
The lifting of the stay will be welcomed by Landlords. However, the requirement for Landlords to provide notice as to the effects of the pandemic creates a degree of uncertainty as to what the Courts will consider unreasonable in the circumstances and what could prevent a Landlord from obtaining possession of their property.
These changes, are a temporary measure designed to gradually bring the country back to some form of 'normality' during the exceptional circumstances that the nation finds itself in, and are a temporary measure for the period up until 28 March 2021.
As a firm, we continue to monitor the Government's guidance and our experts are on hand to offer advice to both Landlords and Tenants during this difficult time. We will continue to provide updates as and when they arise.
If you are a landlord, tenant or homeowner concerned about the current legislation and your situation, our dedicated team is on hand to provide expert advice to you. For more information on the Landlord and Tenant services we offer, please visit our dedicated webpage.
For more information or to discuss your individual circumstances in further detail, contact us today on 01603 693500 or email us using the 'Make an enquiry' form on our website. To comply with social distancing rules, our team can offer telephone or video appointments from the comfort of your home.
*This article is accurate at the time of writing (20th August 2020). This article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or other professional advice.