With the Courts reopening shortly watch a 45-minute briefing to find out about key changes to possession claims.
Put simply if you don’t do anything, any possession claims that have been stayed due to the Court closedown will not proceed AND if you do things exactly as you did before new claims will not succeed.
With possession proceedings put on hold for the past few months, many expect claims will be teeming down at the courts once the temporary stay is lifted in August. In anticipation of a potential procedural crisis in the judiciary, an emergency working group led by the judiciary and includes representatives from the government, the legal profession and the advice sector (primarily organisations supporting people in financial difficulties) has been called to device a plan to ensure prioritisation of the most serious cases and protection of vulnerable people are both achieved.
The collective has published their initial outcomes which are expected to come into force on 23 August, 2020 and remain in place until 28 March 2021. Here are five things you need to know before you restart your possession claim:
- proceedings are not to automatically resume: landlords are required to actively inform the court and the tenant in writing in a “reactivation notice”;
- a new requirement for landlords to actively enquire about the tenant's circumstances and how the pandemic might have impacted them financially and otherwise. Landlords are required to provide such information in the "reactivation notice" and, or for court hearings). Details about the tenant which are deemed relevant to this enquiry includes their vulnerability, disability, and social security position, and whether or not they are “shielding”;
- to allow the court to fix a date either on or after issue so that hearings may be appropriately spread out;
- to suspend the standard period between issue of a claim form and hearing which usually would be not more than eight weeks, again to spread out hearings appropriately in particular having regard to court capacity; and
- to require a landlord so far as practicable to produce the full arrears history in advance rather than at the hearing.
David Smith, property law specialist and Partner at JMW Solicitors delivered a free masterclass Restarting Possession Claims From August to help letting agents and property professionals understand these requirements in practical terms. In the 45-minute briefing, David explored the temporary changes in England as well as those in Wales, and responded to 10+ audience questions. Now, you can replay the recorded masterclass anytime, anywhere.