Following on from our latest update, there have been further restrictions on possession proceedings announced by the government overnight. As is becoming standard practice for the Government when dealing with possession proceedings, the details of the new circumstances will be released on a Friday night, so we anticipate this possibly coming into force on Monday 14 September as happened when the extension to the stay on possession proceedings and then the new notice periods were announced.
The additions are:
- No possession order to be enforced by bailiffs where the eviction is to take place in an area under local lockdown
- And the following quote:
There will also be a ‘winter truce’ on the enforcement of evictions, with no evictions permitted in England and Wales in the run up to and over Christmas except in the most serious circumstances, such as cases involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse. This will ensure vulnerable tenants are not forced from their homes at a time when public and local authorities may be dealing with the usual level of increased demand for services during this time. To achieve this, guidance will be issued to bailiffs that they should not enforce possession orders in the weeks of Christmas.
We interpret this to mean that between September and December 2020, whilst possession claims may be allowed to go ahead, evictions cannot unless the case “involves” anti social behaviour or domestic abuse.
What about substantial rent arrears? Or those mandatory possessions (starter, probationary or introductory tenancies) where the reason the landlord started the possession claim is anti social behaviour but mandatory and procedural nature of these claims means the real reason for possession is masked? Weeks of Christmas? Local lockdown? Vulnerable tenants or all tenants? So many questions.
No doubt (some) answers will be revealed.
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