Writ of Possession | Possession Claims Based on “Substantial Rent Arrears” | Updated Regulation Under SI 2021 No 164 |The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021
For so many people, the light is at the end of an exceptionally long and dark tunnel as the UK emerges from the Coronavirus pandemic. Landlords are one group of people whose Government regulations in their activities have severely impacted, so any good news in the days and weeks ahead is desperately needed.
So, we are pleased to say that the Government finally recognises the plight of landlords in its relaxation of the rules on when evictions can take place.
The “Relaxed” Regulations in Detail
Paragraph 2 of SI 2021 No 164 clearly states that enforcement agents cannot attend a dwelling house to enforce a possession order. The position is becoming more relaxed because of Paragraph 3. This states that the prohibition on eviction will not apply where the Court is satisfied that:
(a) the case involves substantial rent arrears; and
(b) the Notice, writ or warrant relates to an order for possession made wholly or partly—
(i) on Ground 1 in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1985.
(ii) on Ground 8, Ground 10, or Ground 11 in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988(8); or
(iii) under Case 1 of Schedule 15 to the Rent Act 1977
“Substantial rent arrears” are defined in the Statutory Instruments at Paragraph 4 as meaning a case for possession involving where the amount of unpaid rent arrears outstanding is at least an amount equivalent to 6 months’ rent.
So, this is a critical point. How many landlords now have tenants who are now more than six months in arrears, and they want or need to evict them?
If you are in this situation, then it’s time to take stock of what you want to do.
If you haven’t served your Notices yet, then take that step. If you have served your Notice but not issued your claim for possession, then now is the time to get going.
Remember if you are preparing your claim, then try and make room in your claim for a request for permission to enforce any Order for Possession in the High Court by asking the Court to use its discretion to allow the transfer under Section 42(2) of the County Courts Act 1984.
If you have a possession order based on substantial rent arrears, which satisfy the requirements of Paragraph 3 of SI 2021 No 164, then dig it out and see if you can enforce it in the High Court. If you don’t have express permission to enforce in the High Court, we can help you with a tailored application to get that permission.
Time is money in the world of landlords, and things are starting to improve. If we can help you as High Court Enforcement Officers by using a Writ of Possession instead of a Warrant of Possession, contact us at email@example.com.
We will give you the benefit of our opinion on how to use the relaxation in the Regulations to emerge from the problematic situation imposed on you by the pandemic.
Can my landlord evict me while I am are self-isolating?
Landlords show compassion and all parties concerned should avoid the eviction procedure. Tenants should not move unless it is essential and it cannot be delayed (e.g. for reasons of safety), tenants who are self-isolating, either because they are symptomatic or someone in their household is symptomatic, for the duration of the isolation.
What are the rights of the landlord during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The UK Government advises landlords not to commence possession proceedings during this challenging time and exhaust all other avenues before considering the eviction process. It is essential that we work together during these unprecedented times to keep each other safe.
The Coronavirus Act 2020 does protect most tenants and secure licensees in the private and social rented sectors. For notices issued between 26 March to 28 August 2020, the required notice period was three months, after the 28th of August, the notice period was extended to 6 months. Trespassers, tenants with rent arrears of over 6 months or Nuisance cases can still be evicted by following the correct eviction process.
What should I do if my tenant wants to leave the property early during the COVID-19 pandemic?
At the current time, we are urging everyone to show compassion and exercise flexibility as far as possible and we encourage landlords to engage constructively with their tenants. This may include allowing tenants to end the tenancy by giving less notice than allowed for in the tenancy agreement or permitting them to end the tenancy before the fixed term expires.
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