9:54 AM, 1st June 2021, About 3 weeks ago 2
The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government has released its latest guidance for landlords and tenants in the PRS to explain the possession action process in the county courts in England and Wales. Click Here
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19):
In England: From 1 June 2021: – Notice periods must be at least 4 months in most circumstances, including in cases where there are less than 4 months’ of unpaid rent. – There are exemptions for the most serious cases including anti-social behaviour, no right to rent and fraud.
Notice periods for cases where there are less than 4 months of unpaid rent, will reduce to 2 months’ notice from 1 August.
In Wales: Notice periods given to tenants from the 26 March 2020 to 23 July 2020 must be at least 3 months for all kinds of notice. Notice periods given on or after 24 July 2020 to at least 30 June 2021 must be at least 6 months, other than for grounds relating to anti-social behaviour which remained at 3 months until 28 September 2020 but have subsequently returned to their pre-Coronavirus Act 2020 lengths of one month or less, depending on the type of tenancy and ground used.
Stage 2: Make a possession claim
If your tenant does not leave by the date specified in the notice, you can apply to the court for a possession order. You must attach evidence explaining how the coronavirus pandemic has affected you and/or your tenant.
The tenant can submit a defence to the court. In the defence, the tenant may put forward legal reasons why a possession order should not be made, the tenant may put forward a counterclaim, or the tenant may ask for extra time to vacate due to extreme hardship. If a defence is received, the court will send you a copy.
If your claim is based on a section 21 notice and you have used the court’s ‘accelerated procedure’, the judge can consider the claim documents, and any defence received, and make a possession order without a hearing taking place.
Stage 3: Be available on the Review date
You will be sent a date when the judge will review the court file, and a date for the substantive hearing. At least 14 days before the Review, you will need to confirm to the court that you will be contactable on that date, send the court an electronic copy of all of the case documents and confirm that you have also provided these to your tenant.
On the date of the Review there will be duty scheme advice arrangements in place to assist the tenant and promote settlement. You should ensure that you will be available to discuss the case with your tenant and where possible reach a settlement with them without the case progressing to a substantive hearing. At Review, if both parties agree, the case will also be referred for mediation. The government is funding the Rental Mediation Service (RMS) which will be free to use for landlords and tenants. Where you and your tenant reach an agreement, the case will not proceed to a substantive hearing.
Stage 4: Attend the possession hearing
If no agreement is reached at the Review date there will be a possession hearing 28 days after the review date, at which a judge will decide whether to make a possession order or give other case management directions.
Stage 5: Apply for a Warrant of Possession
If a possession order was granted and your tenant does not leave by the date specified in the order, you can apply to the court for a warrant of possession. The tenant can apply to suspend the Warrant. A county court bailiff will enforce the warrant and carry out the eviction.
For further instructions on Claims already in the system and different scenarios Click here to read on.
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