A new practice direction has been added to the Civil Procedure rules. It is Practice Direction 51Z.
The new practice direction is effective from 27.03.20. It applies to most private sector possession claims.
The effect of the practice direction is that all new and existing tenant eviction possession claims are stayed for at last 90 days from 27.03.20.
There is still no prohibition on issuing a possession claim with a view to evicting a tenant. We have discussed this in previous notes: https://www.sjvsolicitors.co.uk/2020/03/27/coronavirus-update/ and here https://www.sjvsolicitors.co.uk/2020/03/25/evictions-and-coronavirus-where-are-we/
Many landlords will be anxious to know how they can progress evictions. Evictions currently are unlikely to be related to rent arrears accrued as a result of coronavirus. Such evictions will be for valid reasons unrelated to the outbreak.
It seems probable now that possession claims won’t be listed. They would have to be listed at least 90 days ahead; even that is subject to any extensions that the government or judiciary apply in light of the evolving pandemic.
Would the courts issue the claim and then simply await developments before listing a hearing? We don’t know yet. But one thing if for sure, there is going to be a hell of a backlog of possession claims when things start to get back to normal.
Simon J Vollans & Co
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The contents of this note are simply the view of the author at
the date of writing.