Residential Possession Proceedings

Since the introduction of the Coronavirus Act 2020 (CA 2020) on 26 March 2020, residential property owners seeking possession of their properties have faced several ever-changing obstacles.  Landlords have therefore needed to ensure that they are aware of the amendments and the changing court rules so that they can act quickly and effectively when it comes to obtaining vacant possession of their property.

Notice Periods

Landlords who wish to serve notice on their tenant to vacate must ensure that they now give 6 months’ notice (this amendment was introduced from 29 August 2020).  This notice period applies to both Section 21 Notices (non-fault evictions) and most Section 8 Notices (fault-based evictions).

There are exceptions to this rule:

  • Where a tenant is in arrears of rent for more than 6 months, landlords will only need to give four weeks’ notice via a Section 8 Notice before issuing court proceedings. 
  • Where there has been evidence of anti-social behaviour, nuisance, illegal or immoral behaviour on the part of the tenant, landlords will be able to issue proceedings immediately after service of the Section 8 Notice. 
  • Where there is evidence of rioting, false statement on the part of the tenant, or in the cases of social housing and domestic abuse, landlords can give two weeks’ notice via a Section 8 Notice.

In the case of Section 21 Notices served after 29 August 2020, the notice will now remain valid for an extended period of 10 months from the date it is given to the tenant in which landlord must issue proceedings. 

Court Proceedings

All residential possession proceedings were stayed from 27 March 2020 until 20 September 2020.  The County Courts that deal with these cases are inundated and have a significant backlog.  Parties, therefore, must be aware of the lengthy delays there are likely to be before reaching the hearing at which date the possession order is made. 

Reactivation Notices

Where a court application was issued before 27 March 2020 and was automatically stayed, the claimant must now file a reactivation notice confirming that they wish the case to be listed, relisted, heard or referred.  There is no standard form for a reactivation notice, but it must be in writing.

The notice must also set out what knowledge that party has as to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and their dependents.

In addition, where the claim relates to arrears of rent, the Claimant must provide an updated rent account for the previous two years at the same time as the reactivation notice.

If no reactivation notice is received by 29 January 2020, the claim will be automatically stayed.

Claims Issued on or After 21 September 2020

Where a claim is issued on or after 21 September 2020, the Claimant must also state what knowledge the Claimant has as to the impact of coronavirus on the Defendant and serve the notice on the Defendant not less than 14 days before the hearing.

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Our Property Litigation Team are here to help you. If you require further information or any assistance, please contact us on 0161 941 4000 or email the Property Litigation Team.