Housing Courts to re-open 23rd August 2020

After several months of Lockdown and the implementation of the Coronovirus Act 2020 (passed into law on 25th March 2020) there does seem to be a move afoot to re-open the Courts which deal with housing matters.

The Act included many matters but in relation to housing it introduced two significant changes:

https://www.arla.co.uk/news/march-2020/covid-19-court-services-suspended-for-housing-possessions.aspx
  1. To end a periodic monthly assured shorthold tenancy the period of Notice which has to be given by a tenant is extended from one clear calendar month ending on the day before a rent day to three months and for a landlord to end a tenancy the period of Notice was increased from two months to three months. At present this remains in place until 30th September 2020.
  • If a landlord has had to issue proceedings seeking a possession order the Courts have not sitting since 27th March 2020 and applications have been racking up waiting for the Courts to reopen. It has long been recognised that there would be a significant back-log and applications made to Court were likely to have not been heard until the middle of 2021. It has now been announced that the Courts will commence sitting from 23rd August.

Presumably the backlog will be dealt with initially but at least this remedy is once again about to become available to landlords.

https://www.arla.co.uk/news/july-2020/government-lays-out-plans-for-regaining-possession-from-23-august/

Our experience at Hazells is that applicant’s landlords have not been insisting on the three month Notice by tenants, one month’s Notice is all that has been required and the market has continued to move swiftly as per pre-Lockdown.

Fortunately, we have not had cause to advise landlord clients to consider issuing proceedings in Court for possession orders but this may well change as the number of redundancies increases and some tenants struggle to meet rent payments. We will continue to strive to maintain our impressive arrears list as we have done so during the lockdown period.

Chris Oakes

July 2020

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