(Yet Another) Update on Possession Proceedings

  • Posted

As we have previously reported, no claims by landlords for possession of their properties against tenants have been able to proceed through the courts since 27 March 2020. After two extensions the measures were set to lift on 23 August 2020.

We can now report that at the eleventh hour the government has introduced further legislation which prevents those possession claims from proceeding through the courts until 20 September 2020.

That means that landlords who have been waiting to recover their properties from tenants who are in rent arrears or have committed other lease breaches will have to wait a while longer yet.

It will however be a welcome (albeit last minute) reprieve for many tenants such as those who have fallen behind with rent as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

It seems that the government came under pressure after the devolved nations’ governments have all taken or propose to take further steps to restrict the ability of landlords to obtain possession against their tenants.

So, is this it? Come 20 September 2020 will landlords be able to progress their possession claims in the courts again? It’s hard to say. The government showed no signs of extending the measures until just three days before they were due to lift, so they could keep us guessing until the last minute again. But logic suggests that if they thought the prospect of opening the flood gates without restrictions on 23 August 2020 was unpalatable then they will feel the same way as 20 September 2020 draws near.

It therefore seems likely that we will see some kind of measures designed to slow down possession claims over the coming months. It would seem sensible that any such measures should be selective so as to allow landlords to recover possession if they are facing serious adverse financial consequences of not being able to do so, or where tenants are being antisocial or causing property damage, but we will have to wait and see.

Here to Help

If you need advice regarding possession claims, or any other property dispute issue, please contact John Wagstaffe, Partner and Head of Property Disputes.

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.