In pre-Covid times evicting a residential tenant was not straightforward.
In the current pandemic it has become even more complex.
Possession proceedings were halted for a time last year which has meant
that there is a large back log of cases in the courts. New arrangements
have been introduced to assist courts on how to reopen and what cases shall
be prioritised. These arrangements are temporary and non-statutory but if
these procedures are not followed your claim may be delayed or adjourned.
You should expect long delays if you wish to purse a possession claim
through the courts.
Government guidance ‘
Understanding the possession action process: A guide for private
landlords in England and Wales
’ has been updated this month and is very comprehensive. If you made a
claim for possession last year which was affected by the stay in
proceedings the Government guidance has further information on this.
The Government are strongly encouraging parties to find alternative means
of resolving disputes for example, agreeing a rent payment plan, or using a
mediation service. Due to these unprecedented times, issuing proceedings to
evict a tenant should be a last resort. The guidance links a ‘ Pre-Action Plan’ which sets out the ‘golden rules
’ for parties to engage with each other and try and reach an agreement
before seeking repossession through the courts.
If you cannot reach an agreement with the tenant, you can still issue a
claim for possession. Until the 30 July 2021 you must provide a statement
setting out how the tenant has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic
and further information on the tenant’s financial position. If this is not
provided the court may not progress your case.
If you have suffered financial difficulty because of the pandemic you can
mark your case as ‘Covid-19’ which may assist the court in processing your
For standard procedure possession claims the timeline in the court
procedures also includes a short review appointment before the substantive
The guidance notes on proceedings using both the accelerated and standard
procedure have been updated to reflect these new arrangements.
Landlords should also be aware that the Government is introducing a Debt
Respite Scheme (Breathing Space) in England and Wales on the 04 May 2021
whereby tenants, who have entered a scheme, cannot be contacted for a time
to request payment of the debt. This will impact on landlords who wish to
issue Section 8 notices for rent arrears. We will issue further information
in due course. Government guidance (which can be found
) was published late December last year.
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute
legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific