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Possessions – A winter’s tale

By December 7, 2020January 28th, 2021Debt Recovery, Latest, Litigation

On 17th November, a new statutory instrument came into force in England, covering the recent guidelines issued by the Lord Chancellor to the High Court Enforcement Officers Association.

The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1290) (“the Regulation”) apply only in England.

Regulation 2(1) states that no person may attend a residential tenancy for the purpose of:

  • executing a writ or warrant of possession;
  • executing a writ or warrant of restitution; or
  • delivering a notice of eviction.

The effect of the regulation for landlords is that no evictions can take place until 11 January 2021 unless an exemption applies. These exemptions include:

  • The tenant is in substantial arrears of at least 9 months ‘rent arrears
  • The order for possession is against a trespasser
  • The order was made wholly or partly on ground of anti –social behaviour, nuisance, domestic violence or false statements.
  • The order was made on the death of the tenant and the person attending is satisfied that the dwelling is unoccupied.

Regulation 2(3) deals with the point about substantial rent arrears. It’s important to note that any rent arrears accrued after 23 March 2020 are to be disregarded in the calculation. This is likely to be a major sticking point for many landlords.

Lastly, Regulation 3 also temporarily prevented enforcement in respect of seizure of goods inside a dwelling. Unlike the other measure however, Regulation 3 expires at the end of the second national lockdown – 2 December 2020. This deadline has now passed.

Can a landlord still service a notice?

The Regulations do not affect the landlord’s ability to serve Section 21 or Section 8 notices provided that correct notice (six months’) is given. As before, Landlords can also restart proceedings by following the correct procedure before 29 January 2021.

Please get in contact with a member of our specialised team for advice on these issues.

David Jones

Author David Jones

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