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Insights

Changes to the Civil Procedure Rules relating to Possession

Posted on 30th March 2020 in Affordable Housing, Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted by

Sarah Schooling

Senior Associate & Solicitor
Changes to the Civil Procedure Rules relating to Possession

Further clarification has been given via an update to the Civil Procedure Rules regarding possession proceedings and proceedings “seeking to enforce an order for possession by warrant or writ of possession”. The text, lifted directly from the announcement is below.

There is still no formal guidance (that we have seen) setting out the position regarding warrants. These changes to the Civil Procedure Rules cover “proceedings” relating to enforcing a warrant of possession. The only “proceedings” necessary when enforcing a warrant are applications to enforce a Suspended Possession Order. Where a landlord has an Outright Possession Order, there are no proceedings as such, rather the act of asking for a warrant (by the Request for a Warrant) is administrative in nature.

As we said in our last update, we understand that the current position is that guidance has been issued to bailiffs that all warrants for possession are to be postponed for at least 3 months.

We also understand that courts are prioritising applications to stay or suspend warrants with a date for eviction. This does rely, however, on an application being made by either the tenant or landlord.

Note – the rule changes do not affect applications for injunctions.

New Practice Direction 51Z to Stay Possession Proceedings

The Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chancellor have signed Practice Direction 51Z (PD) in relation to housing possession proceedings during the Coronavirus pandemic. It follows the Coronavirus Act 2020 emergency legislation and complements the provisions herein to prevent imminent evictions and delay possession proceedings.

The PD is effective immediately ie from today, 27th March 2020

The main changes effected by this PD are:

  • All proceedings for housing possession brought under CPR Part 55 and all proceedings seeking to enforce an order for possession by a warrant or writ of possession are stayed for a period of 90 days from today, 27th March 2020.
  • Claims for injunctive relief are not subject to the stay set out in paragraph 2 of the PD.
  • The PD ceases to have effect on 30th October 2020.

The announcement is available here

And the rule changes here 

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