As set out in our most recent article, ‘Stay to be lifted and possession proceedings to proceed’, the stay on possession proceedings was set to be lifted in the court of England and Wales from 23 August 2020. However, on 21 August 2020, just days before possession proceedings were set to resume, the Government announced a further extension to the ban on proceedings. In addition to the extension, further provisions have been made as to how possession proceedings will be carried out in England and Wales.
Extension of the stay
The Government has confirmed that the ban on possession proceedings in England and Wales will be extended until 20 September 2020. The further four-week extension means that tenants have been granted a reprieve from eviction for six months since the ban was introduced in March of this year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Despite this causing further inconvenience and continued loss of income for landlords wishing to gain possession of their rental properties, the extension has been granted due to the recent prevalence of housing figures which show just how many tenants would be facing eviction without any legal recourse. Consequently, the four-week extension is being used as a window to ensure appropriate measures have been put in place to protect tenants. The extension has been implemented by the 124th Practice Direction Update to the Civil Procedure Rules – Coronavirus Pandemic related and The Civil Procedure (Amendment No.5) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020.
On announcement of the extension, the Government introduced six-month notice periods for evictions, with exceptions applying to cases involving anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse, until at least the end of March 2021. When possession proceedings resume on 20 September 2020 and hearings are listed, the Government have set priority to cases involving anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and where landlords have not received rent for over a year.
The Dispute Resolution Team continues to monitor the position regarding possession proceedings, so that our clients can be provided with the most up to date information. Despite a further extension being granted, our services remain available for preparation of reactivation notices, extended section 21 and section 8 notices and any other general matters relating to the resumption or issuing of your claim. Should you have any questions about the information within, or the services we provide, please contact the TSP Dispute Resolution team on 01206 574431 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org