There remain significant barriers preventing landlords from regaining possession of their property as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Much of the current legislation is intended to be temporary but may be extended in the future.
England – the current position
In March 2020 the Coronavirus Act 2020 extended the notice period for Section 21 and S8 notices from 2 months to 3 months from the date of service of the notice. Further information on/re this is available here.
Wales – the current position
In Wales the Minister for Housing and Local Government has made further Regulations to temporarily increase the notice period for both Section 21 and Section 8 notices from three months to six months as of 23 July 2020. Notices must be at least for this period of time with immediate effect. Further information on the announcement is available here (https://gov.wales/written-statement-use-powers-under-coronavirus-act-2020).
In both England & Wales all possession claims remain stayed (or paused) until 23 August 2020. No new possession claims are being issued until after the 23 August 2020.
We understand existing claims will not be automatically processed. Landlords with claims will need to comply with a new Practice Direction 55C which is available here and which applies after 23 August 2020 (https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/CPR-123rd-PD-Update-PD55C-SIGNED.pdf).
In simple terms paragraph 2.3 confirms nothing will happen automatically and a landlord must file with the court and serve a reactivation notice. As to the content of the notice it must;
‘2.3 A reactivation notice must—
(a) confirm that the party filing and serving it wishes the case to be listed, relisted, heard or referred; and
(b) except in proceedings relating to an appeal, set out what knowledge that party has as to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and their dependants’.
Issuing New Proceedings
There is nothing to prevent landlords from serving notices prior to the stay being lifted and Landlords wanting to evict tenants should look to do so to prevent further delay. There are reports of significant backlogs at the courts and so landlords and agents are well advised to ensure claims are prepared promptly to avoid the inevitable backlog.
We will continue to provide updates as the position develops and will be able to advise you on what steps you can take to regain possession of your property as quickly as possible.