21 Jul 2020

The government has outlined new court procedures to address the expected backlog of cases when eviction proceedings resume on August 24.

For all applications made before August 3, the landlord or agent must notify both the court and defendant in writing that they wish to continue the case.

Without this reactivation notice cases started prior to August 3 will not resume.  

Secondly, the landlord or agent should ascertain whether the tenant is shielding or is in some other way vulnerable to Coronavirus.

The landlord or agent must also itemise arrears in writing, ideally as part of the reactivation notice, if this is relevant to the eviction.

Finally the court officers are to have greater leeway over the timetable for proceedings to ensure social distancing and other safety measures can be ensured.

These processes will be in place until March 28 with an earlier review if circumstances change. 

The National Residential Landlords Association has analysed the proposals and say there are two outstanding issues to be resolved.

“Although landlords will be required to provide any information they have about their tenant’s experience of coronavirus, there is no indication of how the courts will use the information” says the NRLA.

“Also there is no detail about how, or in what form a reactivation notice should be served. The NRLA is working to answer both of these points with the ministries of justice and housing respectively.”

Full details of the new procedures can be found here.

Generation Rent, the charity led by campaigning former-Labour Baroness Alicia Kennedy, has accused the government of having “snuck out its plans” over the weekend. 

She says: “Clearly, the government doesn’t understand how scared renters are about losing their homes. As it stands, these rules alone will not help the vast majority of renters who are at risk of losing their home, and judges will not have the powers to prevent Section 21 no fault evictions or Section 8 evictions for rent arrears built up during the pandemic.

“Over half a million households are behind on rent, and urgently need reassurance that they will not lose their home due to the economic shock of Coronavirus, as the government promised in March. The government must use the final days of parliament to legislate to ensure that no home is at risk.”

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