Possessions Claims – Amendment to the Suspension Rules

By Lorraine Walker

It has been announced that the suspension of possession claims is to be lifted from 23 August 2020 and amended rules brought in.

As many of you will know, possession claims that were brought before 3 August 2020 were immediately stayed under the previously announced suspension emanating out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

The amended rules will be in place up until 28 March 2021.  So, what are they:

For claimants, the following requirements will apply during the temporary period:

  • A claimant must inform the court it wishes to resume stayed possession proceedings whilst informing the defendant(s) at the same time, by serving a ‘Reactivation Notice’.
  • A claimant must provide any relevant information about the defendant’s circumstances, including information (where known) about the effect of the pandemic on the defendant and his / her dependents, which will enable the court to have regard to the vulnerability, disability and social security position, and those who are ‘shielding’.
  • Where a claim is based on arrears of rent, a claimant landlord must provide an updated rent account for the previous two year period with the Reactivation Notice.

Powers of the court will be extended during the temporary period one of which will ensure that hearings are spread out meaning the standard period between issue of a claim and a hearing may be longer than 8 weeks. 

What about Possession Claims made on or after 3 August 2020?

Any Possession claims made between 3 August and 22 August 2020 will be automatically stayed and temporary rules will apply but a Reactivation Notice will not be necessary.  

A claimant must serve on the defendant not less than 14 days prior to the hearing, a notice setting out what  knowledge that party has as to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and their dependants.  A claimant must take two copies of the Notice to the hearing.

Where a claimant intends to seek an accelerated possession claim, a notice setting out what knowledge they have as to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and their dependants must be filed with the claim form.

What does this mean for you?

  • As a claimant (usually the landlord), you should provide as much helpful information as possible in the reactivation notice. What action the court will take in absence of the same is unknown but adjournment or strike-out are possible consequences.
  • For defendants, the court will ensure that your personal circumstances are fully taken into consideration and where discretionary grounds are being relied on this will give you enhanced scope to argue against a possession order being granted.

If you require any advice on possession claims, please do not hesitate to contact Lorraine Walker on 07458027010 or by email lwalker@willsonslegal.co.uk

You can also contact us by clicking here.

Willsons Solicitors