Is an end to the suspension of possession proceedings in sight?

We look at when we might expect to see the suspension of possession proceedings lifted and what steps landlords can take in the meantime.

We specialise in both residential and commercial property disputes. If you are contemplating possession proceedings then contact us for a free case assessment on 0333 888 0404  or send an email to us at [email protected]

Following the Coronavirus Act 2020 and an update to the Civil Procedure Rules on 27 March 2020, evicting commercial tenants for rent arrears by peaceable re-entry was not lawfully permitted until after 30 June 2020 (subject to any extension) and any court proceedings seeking a possession order against commercial tenants or  residential tenants were to be suspended for 90 days. Claims for an injunction were not however suspended. Accordingly, at that time, all existing or future possession claims under CPR Part 55 (which included claims against trespassers and/or squatters) would be suspended.

However a further amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules on 20 April 2020 now allows certain possession claims against trespassers and squatters in residential and commercial premises to proceed to a final hearing, where a possession order can be sought, as those claims are no longer suspended by the court. The wording of that amendment can be found here.

In Arkin v Marshall the Court of Appeal rejected an argument that this Practice Direction was unlawful. The stay of possession proceedings was judged to be valid and remains in place.

The latest news is that the suspension is potentially being extended to the end of October, but confirmation is awaited. The Practice Direction will presumably be updated to reflect any extension in due course.

Therefore we would advise residential landlords to serve notice on their tenants and to bring possession proceedings even though the stay is in place, unless an agreement can be reached with your tenant over the payment of ongoing rent and ideally the arrears.

The courts are facing a substantial backlog and will have a large number of existing claims to deal with before they even get to the new ones. Therefore serving notice and bringing possession proceedings now will at least put you in the queue and will minimise, so far as possible, the delay in recovering possession of your property in due course.

We offer a fixed fee service for residential possession claims and the fees can be found here.

We represent landlords throughout Devon, Somerset and beyond. If you would like a free case assessment or wish to discuss your case then contact our free helpline on 0333 888 0404 or email [email protected]

Lee Dawkins

Lee Dawkins

Over the past 30 years Lee has overseen the expansion of the firm’s litigation department. He developed our personal injury and clinical negligence teams, creating various niche areas that now enjoy a national profile. He pioneered contentious probate, setting up one of the UK's leading inheritance dispute teams and established Slee Blackwell as a force within claimant professional negligence. He now works as the firm's marketing partner.
Lee Dawkins

Lee Dawkins

Over the past 30 years Lee has overseen the expansion of the firm’s litigation department. He developed our personal injury and clinical negligence teams, creating various niche areas that now enjoy a national profile. He pioneered contentious probate, setting up one of the UK's leading inheritance dispute teams and established Slee Blackwell as a force within claimant professional negligence. He now works as the firm's marketing partner.

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Call the Slee Blackwell helpline on 0333 888 0404