The stay on possession proceedings has been extended to 23 August 2020. This means that the court will not progress a claim for possession, unless it is a consent order for directions to take the matter to trial, or enforce a warrant.
PD51Z of the Civil Procedure Rules has not been amended, but we anticipate that amendments will be published later today. The news broke on Friday evening via Robert Jenrick, Housing Secretary’s, twitter account and was later followed up by a press release on the Government website.
Possession claims can still be issued but will be stayed, or listed, for after 23 August 2020. Existing possession claims with hearing dates before 23 August 2020 will be taken out of the hearing list and re listed in due course.
There was a challenge to the stay on possession proceedings. This challenge ultimately failed, but it did suggest that in exceptional circumstances, the stay might be lifted for individual cases. The court in that case suggested that exceptional circumstances might be where there is a danger to public health. This may cover situations where there is evidence of a wider threat to a community, such as serious anti social behaviour, dangerous levels of hoarding or reckless behaviour leading to an increased risk of, say, fire.
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