Coronavirus and residential tenancies – update on eviction procedure

The Government has published an update as to how residential possession matters will proceed following the lifting of the ban on eviction which is set to come to an end on 23 August 2020.

Claims have now been split into 3 categories.

  • Stayed claims brought before 3 August 2020
  • Stayed Claim brought before 22 August 2020
  • New claims brought after 22 August 2020.

No stayed claim will be restarted until a reactivation notice is filed with the Court and served on the Tenant. This will enable the matter to be either listed, re-listed, heard, or referred.

The landlord has to clarify what knowledge they have of the impact of COVID-19 on their tenant and their dependants, as well as providing an up-to-date rent statement if the eviction is due to rent arrears.

It is safe to assume that those who have experienced exceptional hardship due to COVID-19 may receive more lenient treatment in proceedings. It is therefore sensible for landlords to keep in contact with their tenants regarding their individual situations.

Hearings

The courts will have to provide at least 21 days’ notice of any hearings to be held once the reactivation notice has been filed.

The courts have already announced that they expect delays in dealing with matters and so it is more than likely that that time period will be extended beyond the usual 8-week period.

In matters where case management directions have already been given by the courts, said directions will need to be filed with the reactivation notice along with new proposed dates. The court should also be notified if the case can be heard by telephone/video link.

Any opposition to the above must be filed with the Court within 14 days of the reactivation notice.

The latest a reactivation notice can be filed is 29 January 2021. Should this not be filed, the claim will be stayed and an application to lift the stay would be necessary thereafter.

It is not yet clear as to the effect of non-compliance with the above, therefore, it is advisable that Landlords ensure that as much information is provided to the Court in eviction cases.

If you have questions relating to this article, please feel free to contact me: Telephone 020 8221 8068, via email: david.stancliffe@bowlinglaw.co.uk or visit my profile.

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