Reactivation Notices - Lifting the Stay on Possession Claims

Lifting the Stay on Possession Claims and the introduction of PD55C and the “Reactivation Notice”

It has now been announced that the suspension of claims for possession is to be lifted from 23 August 2020 and that there will be a brand new Practice Direction 55C to the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.

The Practice Direction was published on 21st July and has effect from 23 August 2020 until 28 March 2021 (unless extended further).

Any possession claims that are or have been brought before 3 August 2020 are immediately stayed under the previously announced suspension to all possession proceedings emanating out of the national health emergency.

These possession claims will not be listed, relisted, heard or, referred to a judge until one of the parties files and serves a “Reactivation Notice” confirming that they wish the case to be listed, relisted, heard or referred.

Under the new Practice Direction 55C, a Reactivation Notice must:

  1. confirm that the party filing and serving the Notice wishes the case to be listed, relisted, heard or referred; and

  1. set out what knowledge that party has as to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and their dependants (except in proceedings relating to an appeal).

Where the claimant files and serves the Reactivation Notice (in most cases this will be the Claimant landlord) and the claim is based on arrears of rent (e.g. after a section 8 Notice, grounds 8, 10 or 11), the claimant landlord must provide an updated rent account for the previous two year period with the Reactivation Notice.

The Reactivation Notice should be both filed with the court and served on the defendant (usually the tenant(s)). The Reactivation Notice can be filed and served on or after 23 August 2020. If no Reactivation Notice has been filed and served by 4pm 29 January 2021, the claim will be automatically stayed. However it is worth noting that an automatic stay where a Reactivation Notice has not been served is not a sanction for breach; and an application to lift the stay is accordingly not an application for relief from sanctions under rule 3.9 of the Civil Procedure Rules (as amended) 1998.

Upon receipt of a Reactivation Notice, the court must give at least 21 days’ Notice to the parties of any hearing listed or relisted.

What about Possession Claims made on or after 3 August 2020?

Any Possession claims which are made between 3 August and 22 August 2020 are automatically stayed but the Reactivation Notice won’t be necessary and temporary rules will apply. Any Possession claim from 23 August 2020 to expiry of the Practice Direction 55C (currently 28 March 2021), will be out of the suspension period but temporary rules will apply until expiry of the Practice Direction.

For all claims brought on or after 3 August 2020, the Claimant must serve on the Defendant not less than 14 days prior to the hearing, a Notice setting out what  knowledge that party has as to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and their dependants (usually the tenants).

In addition, the Claimant Landlord must take to the hearing two copies of that Notice.

For any accelerated possession claim brought on or after 3 August 2020, the claimant must file with the claim form for service with it a Notice setting out what knowledge that party has as to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and their dependants.

If you would like advice about this important change, or any aspect of your tenancy agreement then please get in contact with our Dispute Resolution Team by emailing Josh Millichamp, or call us on 0800 118 1500 to find out how we can help.