On 21 August 2020, it was announced that the stay on possession proceedings has been extended to 20 September 2020.
The first stay on possession proceedings was initially announced on 27 March 2020. This stay was introduced by Practice Direction 51Z for 90 days and came to an end on 25 June 2020.
On 25 June 2020 CPR rule 55.29 then came into force. This meant that the stay on possession proceedings was extended to 23 August 2020.
It is important to note that CPR 55.29 does not prevent a claim being issued, however that claim would be stayed and a hearing date would not be set. Furthermore, an important distinction is that this CPR 55.29 does not apply to claims against trespassers.
Moreover, this stay to proceedings does not prevent a landlord from serving a notice on their tenants such as a notice seeking possession. Nevertheless, any landlord issuing a notice should be aware that period of notice has been increased temporarily for many notices. For example, currently, a notice seeking possession under Section 21 Housing Act 1988 or Section 8 Housing Act 1988 must have a notice period of at least three months. For up to date advice on the minimum notice that should be given for particular notices, the government website should have up to date information.
On 17th July 2020, Practice Direction 55C was introduced. This required parties to file and serve a notice of reactivation to lift the stay on all possession claim under PD51Z.
Now that the stay on possession proceedings has been extended until at least 20th September 2020, it is currently unknown what effect this will have on reactivation notices issued under Practice Direction 55C.
While this does not give certainty to either landlord’s or tenant’s on what their more long term plans will be, it is hoped that this four week period will give time for plans to be put in place to effectively deal with the backlog of cases once the stay on possession cases eventually comes to an end.
We await the specific wording of the amended Practice Direction 55.29.
Author Daniel Bolster is a trainee solicitor in the housing department. He has experience handling numerous types of housing and property law cases including possession proceedings, eviction matters, landlord and tenant disputes, anti-social behaviour disputes and housing disrepair claims. He is supervised by housing director Manjinder Kaur Atwal.
Contact Daniel on 020 3114 1243 or at email@example.com
Contact Manjinder on 020 3114 1269 or at firstname.lastname@example.org