Possession Proceedings During the Coronavirus Pandemic

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In the light of the Coronavirus pandemic, on 27 March 2020 the Court imposed a stay (an order imposing a halt on civil proceedings) on all possession proceedings until 25 June 2020. The stay does not prevent a landlord from issuing a possession claim, but once issued it will lie dormant until the stay is lifted.

That stay was in addition to the restrictions on forfeiting business leases on the ground of rent arrears until 30 June 2020 and the extension of notice periods to three months for notices served in relation to most residential tenancies before 30 September 2020 which were imposed by the Coronavirus Act 2020 and were discussed by Hayley Grantham’s in her article Government Measures to Ban Evicting Tenants of Residential and Commercial Property.

Further legislation is imminently to be enacted by which:

  1. The Court-imposed stay of possession proceedings will be extended from 25 June 2020 to 23 August 2020. Again, it will be possible to issue a possession claim at court but that claim will not begin to progress until the stay lifts; and,
  2. The restrictions on forfeiting business leases on the ground of rent arrears will be extended to 30 September 2020.

The position in relation to obtaining possession of property is therefore that:

  • No possession proceedings in court will progress until after 23 August 2020;
  • Landlords of commercial premises will not be able to forfeit leases on the ground of rent arrears until after 30 September 2020; and,
  • Landlords of residential premises must give a period of at least three months in any notice to terminate a tenancy which is served before 30 September 2020.

If you are a landlord or tenant and need advice about possession proceedings, or any other dispute about property, please get in touch with John Wagstaffe.

Please note the contents of this blog are given for information only and must not be relied upon. Legal advice should always be sought in relation to specific circumstances.