Expert Insights

Expert Insights

Ban on residential evictions extended

Last week, we reviewed the position three months on from the lifting of the stay on possession proceedings (21 September 2020).  Please click here for our insight.  We noted that with the introduction of a further national lockdown, it was possible that the Government would introduce further changes and, indeed, that is precisely what has happened.

The Government has extended the ban on enforcement of possession orders from 11 January 2021 to 21 February 2021 in respect of residential dwellings in England.  This change is made under The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021 which come into force today.

There remain limited circumstances in which enforcement of possession orders may proceed, of which, the most commonly encountered are:

  • Where enforcing an order for possession made against unknown trespassers (under CPR 55.6);
  • Where the premises are let under an assured shorthold tenancy (“AST”) or an assured tenancy and a possession order is made wholly or partly under one or more of the following grounds under Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988:
    • Ground 7A – conviction of tenant or a visitor;
    • Ground 14 – nuisance;
    • Ground 14A – domestic violence.
  • Where the premises are let under an AST or an assured tenancy, there are substantial arrears of rent and a possession order is made wholly or partly under one or more of the following grounds of Schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988:
    • Ground 1 – principal home of Landlord;
    • Grounds 8, 10 or 11 – rent arrears.
  • Substantial arrears of rent is defined in the Regulations as at least 6 months’ rent. Under the current Regulations, there is no longer any distinction between arrears which accrued before or post the COVID-19 pandemic.  If there is over 6 months’ rent outstanding and the Landlord has obtained a possession order on Grounds 1, 8, 10 or 11, the possession order may be enforced.
  • The Regulations expire on 21 February 2021.

Landlords should also check that if they have any existing possession proceedings which were stayed and where they have not served a reactivation notice to revive those proceedings.  Landlords and tenants seeking to reactivate possession proceedings have until 29 January 2021 to do so failing which they will remain stayed and it will be necessary for an application lifting the stay to be made.

This is an area of fast-paced change so please visit our Essential Residential Hub and our timeline on the evolution of the private rented sector to keep up to date with developments.

Please do not hesitate to contact Lauren Fraser, Laura Bushaway or your usual Charles Russell Speechlys contact if you have any queries.  This insight is not a substitute for legal advice on the specific circumstances of the case.

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