The news that many landlords had been worried about was confirmed on 5 June. The eviction moratorium has been extended.
The Coronavirus Act originally imposed a stay of 3 months to all new and existing possession claims. This was due to finish towards the end of June which no doubt had many landlords readying themselves to begin/continue with possession proceedings as soon as possible after this date. Unfortunately, the stay has been extended for a further 8 weeks until 23 August 2020 at the earliest. This could again be extended until 30 September.
The extension is likely to cause a further back log; however, we understand a specialist team is being put together to ensure that the recommencement of possession claims is implemented as efficiently as possible following the stay. In the meantime, landlords looking for possession of their property, regardless of the reason and even if any rent arrears were not caused by the pandemic. should prepare themselves for lengthy proceedings due to the inevitable influx of cases made at the same time.
With the current extension in mind, many landlords may have been waiting until the end of the moratorium before issuing proceedings on the basis of an expired Section 21 notice, for good reason. However, the notices have a shelf life before action (issuing court proceedings) is required, otherwise landlords lose the ability to rely on them in court. Whilst any new claims will likely not be processed or served before the end of the moratorium, any landlords with notices coming up to the end of the 6-month shelf life from date of service, that they know they will need to rely on, may want to issue possession proceedings now to protect the validity of notice served.
Subject to entitlement, notice periods for both Section 21 and Section 8 notice remain at 3 months.
Enforcing previously obtained possession orders
The amendments to regulations 10 and 23 of Taking Control of Goods Regulations (TCG) 2013 prescribe that the emergency period that applies to restrictions on the taking control of goods by enforcement agents will end on 23 August 2020.
Provided no other amendments are made, the end of these restrictions will mean that enforcement visits to residential property will recommence from 24th August 2020.
The stay on residential possession proceedings is also due to end on 23rd August 2020 meaning enforcement of possession orders obtained prior to lockdown will also be able to be enforced.
Landlords are encouraged to submit the requests for a bailiff’s appointment or transfer them to the high court prior to the end of the expiry of the moratorium to reduce the expected delays when the courts recommence evictions.
For further information or advice relating to issuing possession proceedings, please contact Odette Gordon at email@example.com or call 01689 887810.