17/09/2020

Yet more on possession claims

There is now a deluge of new materials ahead of Monday 21 September restarting of possession proceedings. All out today are:

The Master of the Rolls published version of the ‘Overall Arrangements for possession proceedings in England and Wales’, which, slightly confusingly, omits any reference at all to the guided negotiation/mediation pilot that was in the ‘Final for distribution” version we saw on Tuesday.

An assortment of letters, notices and information packs that will be sent to landlord claimants and tenant defendants depending on the position of the claim, published by HMCTS. Apparently tenants will be notified of pre 3 August 2020 claims that were stayed at issue, before the landlord has filed a reactivation notice. (It also appears that possession claims that were filed during the stay were not issued at all, just, well, put to one side. Given that date of filing would count as effectively the relevant date for any limitation or expiry of section 21 validity purposes, this probably isn’t a big thing, so long as the courts kept a record of when the claim was received, but it is a bit odd.) The “Important information for Claimants” begins “Avoid Court”, which at least has the virtue of honesty.

MHCLG has published “Understanding the possession action process: guidance for landlords and tenants”. I’ll be honest, I’ve not reviewed these for accuracy. There are separate private and social ones.

The FCA have published Guidance for Mortgage Lenders on possession claims, to cover the period after the current guidance expires on 31 October 2020.

And the NRLA have published their “Golden Rules for dealing with rent disputes”, which are to be honest, pretty sensible. Let us hope attention is paid. Mind you, we apparently live in a world where a landlord can tell a tenant that they are putting the rent up because they can’t let their other properties.

So, lots to get through for Monday – I haven’t even started – but it also seems clear that pretty much nothing is going to happen for the first couple of weeks. Even where a warrant of eviction was stayed in March, at least 14 days notice will have to be given of a new date, and I very much suspect that a stayed eviction won’t be re-listed without the landlord telling the court that it is still required (though no reactivation notice required).

 

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.

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