Ban on possession proceedings extended, with longer notice periods

Landlords news  

July 22, 2020 | Alison Eastwood

The Government has announced that the temporary suspension of possession proceedings due to Covid 19 is to be extended until the 20th September, with longer notice periods for section 21 and Section 8 notices.

We are awaiting further detail to be announced but in the meantime, the headlines are;

  • If a landlord applied for possession before 27 March 2020, the case will be put on hold, regardless of what stage it is at.
  • No new possession claims will be processed before the 21st September.
  • The Government is also set to announce  further detail about longer notice periods for notices seeking possession of a property of 6 months. The current period for notices is 3 months, this was initially in place  between 26 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. We await further detail on when the 6 months rule takes effect. However, there are likely to be some exceptions to the 6 months period for some cases where there are ‘serious issues’  such as those involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse perpetrators, until at least the end of March.
  • When the courts re-open there will be a large backlog of possession cases and details of which cases are going to be prioritised will be announced.

When the courts re-open:

  • For possession proceedings that were put on hold as a result of Covid 19, landlords will first need to notify the Court and their tenant that they still wish to seek repossession using a ‘reactivation notice’. This rule includes accelerated possession cases. However, a reactivation notice won’t be needed for any claim where a possession order has already been granted.
  •  Landlords seeking possession of their property will need to set out in their claim any relevant information about a tenant’s circumstances, including any relevant information about the effect of the Covid 19 pandemic on the tenant and his/her dependants, which will enable the court to have regard to vulnerability, disability, social security position and those who are shielding. This rule will apply to both new and existing proceedings and will be in place until at least the end of March 2021.
  • Landlords will also need to provide a rent arrears history in advance of the hearing, rather than providing this at the hearing itself.
  • The standard period of not more than 8 weeks between the issue of a claim form and the date for the hearing has been suspended, to allow the Court to spread out hearings appropriately, having regard to court capacity.
  • The court will have flexibility on setting the date for the court hearing to allow it to fix a date either on or after the claim form is issued to the landlord. Currently a hearing date is set at the same time as the claim form is issued.

This is a fast moving situation and we will update you as soon as we know more.

 Let The Bond Board take the strain!

We know that it is a very difficult time for many landlords and tenants. Changes in circumstances, loss of employment or business income and uncertainty about the future have hit both landlords and tenants hard.

The Bond Board offers a free, specialist support and housing advice service for both landlords and tenants in Rochdale and Bolton. We can support both parties to try to resolve issues such as rent arrears, benefit/universal credit issues or a breakdown in the landlord/tenant relationship so that the tenancy stays or gets back on track and the need for possession proceedings can be avoided. The sooner you contact us the better, so we can support you and your tenants to get back on track as quickly as possible.

 

Find out more about our advice and support services HERE

If you need support to solve a problem with a tenancy or need any other advice Contact us

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