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Amendments to Part 55


A statutory instrument – The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2020 – has been laid, and it includes, amongst other things, amendments to CPR Part 55 on possession claims. These will be in force from 6 April 2020.

The explanatory memorandum says:

  1. Housing matters: the amendments to CPR rule 55.11 together with the substitution of a new streamlined rule 52.12 remove demoted assured shorthold tenancies and oral tenancy agreement cases from the accelerated possession process. Both sorts of case are now rare, and there is considered to be no justification for retaining them within the accelerated procedure.

And the amends do indeed do that. But they also appear to exclude assured shorthold tenancies that began between 15 January 1989 and 27 February 1997 from the accelerated procedure. Granted, there are not likely to be many of those left, but this is still worthy of note.

The requirements for a written tenancy agreement are also tightened. Now either there must be a written agreement, or the tenancy be a statutory periodic following a tenancy with a written agreement. So the current allowance that the tenancy

relates to the same or substantially the same property let to the same tenant and on the same terms (though not necessarily as to rent or duration) as a tenancy which was the subject of a written agreement;

has gone. No written agreement means no accelerated possession procedure.



Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.


  1. wrhite

    Can a tenancy which is contractual periodic, as opposed to statutory periodic, still avail of accelerated proceedings?

    • Giles Peaker

      As long as there is a written tenancy agreement (for the current tenancy, under these new rules).


    I thought that if it’s an oral agreement that it had to be a manual claim rather than accelerated in any case?

    • Giles Peaker

      If always oral. There used to be the exception where there had been an original written tenancy agreement, but subsequent tenancies (same property/tenant/landlord) had been oral, as per the post.

  3. Nick Parkin

    So if you don’t have a written agreement (either an oral tenancy or you have lost the agreement), then the 1997 change to AST is reversed and it’s back to 1988 – if you can’t prove an AST then it’s Assured?

    • Giles Peaker

      No, you just can’t use the accelerated procedure.

  4. Michael Barnes

    “No written agreement means no accelerated possession procedure”

    Does this mean that the common practice of one-page renewals will prevent use of accelerated process, or is the original agreement considered to be incorporated into the renewal document if referenced?

    • Giles Peaker

      If terms of previous agreement expressly incorporated, should be OK.

  5. Katie Chan

    So if a tenant claim that there had been a verbal agreement for another 6 months fixed term (say) somewhere along the way…….

    • Giles Peaker

      As that would only be a defence to the extent that it would knock the claim out of accelerated proceedings and into defended proceedings (and they would have to evidence that assertion) it would get them nowhere. Not a defence in itself to a s.21 claim, and wouldn’t stop proceedings.


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