27 April 2020 | Comment | Article by Bethan Gladwyn

UPDATE: Coronavirus Act 2020 and Possession Claims


Update at Monday 27 April 2020

On 27th March a new Practice Direction stayed all possession claims for a period of 90 days. That practice direction has now been amended so that a few possession claims can proceed. These include claims against trespassers where the claim is issued against “persons unknown”. These most commonly arise in squatter and traveller trespass cases. Landowners can also apply for an interim possession orders against a named trespasser provided the trespasser has never had any right to be on the property (the application must be made within 28 days of the landowner being aware of the occupation). Whether the court will take any different approach to these cases at the present time, particularly if the applicant is a public body remains to be seen.

The amendments also clarify that any other possession claim can be issued, but as soon as it is issued it will be stayed unless either of the above circumstances apply, or if the parties agree what directions should apply to the claim (in which case they can apply for those directions).

If you need help or guidance on the pressures you are currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, please get in touch with our housing management team.

Key contact

Bethan Gladwyn

t: 029 2267 5569

e: bethan.gladwyn@hughjames.com


Update at Friday 27 March 2020

 

From 27 March 2020, following a decision by the Master of the Rolls with the Lord Chancellor's agreement, the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action. This means that neither cases currently in, or any about to go in, the system can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.

This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended, if needed. This measure will protect all private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This will apply to both England and Wales.

If you need help or guidance on the pressures you are currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, please get in touch with our housing management team.

Key contact

Bethan Gladwyn

t: 029 2267 5569

e: bethan.gladwyn@hughjames.com

 


Update at Thursday 26 March 2020

Following our recent blog in relation to the courts and possession claims, the Coronavirus Act 2020 was given Royal Assent on 25 March 2020. Section 81 and schedule 29 which deal with rented properties came into force on 26 March 2020 and will remain in force until 30 September 2020. Between these dates any notices served by a landlord seeking to bring a tenancy to an end under any of the following provisions must have a minimum notice period of 3 months:-

S.83 Housing Act 1985 – secure tenancies

S.8 Housing Act 1988 – assured tenancies

S.21 Housing Act 1988 – assured shorthold tenancies (AST)

S.128 Housing Act 1996 – introductory tenancies

S.143E Housing Act 1996 – demoted tenancies

 

It applies to all grounds, so even the anti-social behaviour grounds (ground 2 for secure tenancies and ground 14 for assured tenancies) are now a minimum of 3 months’ notice.

The new Act does not, however, apply to Notice to Quit (NTQ) served under The Protection from Eviction Act 1977. An NTQ is served where it is believed a secure or assured tenant has lost their security of tenure or to end non-excluded licences, usually found in supported or temporary accommodation. For an NTQ, the notice period remains 28 days and must expire on the first or the last day of a period of the tenancy.

In England, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has produced a new form 6A that should be used to end an AST. There is no equivalent in Wales and landlords will need to ensure that their standard section 21 notices reflect the changes. For notices seeking possession there have been amendments to the prescribed form, so please ensure you seek legal advice before serving any notices until 30 September 2020.

 

If you need help or guidance on the pressures you are currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak, please get in touch with our housing management team.

Key contact

Bethan Gladwyn

t: 029 2267 5569

e: bethan.gladwyn@hughjames.com

 

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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