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Tenant protections extended and expanded

Eleventh hour extension to the stay on possession claims

In a move which surprised many, the Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 5) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020 were laid before Parliament on 24 August 2020.

They amend Civil Procedure Rule (“CPR”) 55.29(1) from 22 August 2020 and continue the stay of all possession action brought under Part 55 of the CPR, and all enforcement proceedings by writ or warrant of possession, until 20 September 2020.  The stay was to expire on 23 August 2020.  The new rules apply both to proceedings which were already stayed and new claims started after 22 August but before 20 September 2020.  Possession claims may, therefore, still be brought but they will be stayed.

Changes to the enforcement procedures under CPR 83 that were to come into force on 23 August 2020 will not now take effect until 20 September 2020 and no eviction notices can be delivered until after that date.

As before the extension, the stay will not apply to:

  • Injunction claims
  • Applications for agreed directions
  • Proceedings under the interim possession order procedure
  • Trespasser claims under CPR 55.6.

New practice direction

Practice Direction 55C (“PD 55C”) to the CPR makes temporary provision in relation to possession proceedings under Part 55 of the CPR for an interim period.  It came into force on 22 August 2020.  PD 55C sets out the steps required to reactivate currently stayed claims, including the service of new “reactivation notices”.  “Stayed claims” are claims brought on or before 19 September 2020 and include appeals of possession claims.

PD 55C also sets out procedural requirements which will apply to existing claims and to new claims.  “New claims” are possession actions brought after 19 September 2020.

PD 55C now provides for the relevant interim period to begin on 20 September 2020 and for it to end on 28 March 2021.

Bigger changes coming for English residential property

In addition, on 21 August 2020, the government announced an intention to introduce more protection for residential tenants, including those holding assured short-hold tenancies. These new rules would require landlords in England to give at least 6 months’ notice of termination. This requirement follows recent similar changes in Wales and would apply in all cases (unless there is an urgent issue, such as anti-social behaviour) until at least the end of March 2021.

Draft legislation, which may amend the Housing Act 1988, is awaited.


Disclaimer

This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.

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