Further suspension on evictions until January 2021

Whilst evictions have been suspended owing to the second lockdown, it had already been determined that under the government's three tier system, any evictions in high tier areas would be suspended.

However, recent developments mean that as of 17 November 2020, The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 is now in force and applies to England only.

The latest regulations provide that no person (including a bailiff) may attend at a dwelling house for the purpose of—

  • executing a writ or warrant of possession;
  • executing a writ or warrant of restitution; or
  • delivering a notice of eviction.

There are exceptions (so enforcement may continue) if the case involves “substantial rent arrears” and the notice, writ or warrant relates to an order for possession made wholly or partly on ground 1, 8, 10, 11 or case 1 Rent Act 1977.

Substantial rent arrears” means if the amount of unpaid rent arrears outstanding at the date on which the order for possession is granted is at least an amount equivalent to 9 months’ rent and any unpaid rent arrears accrued after 23rd March 2020 must be disregarded. Ultimately this means that in order to fall within the exception there must be historical rent arrears spanning back to pre-COVID-19.

Other exemptions include where the notice, writ or warrant relates to an order for possession made-

  • against trespassers pursuant to a claim to which rule 55.6 (service of claims against trespassers) of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998;
  • wholly or partly on Ground 7A, Ground 14, Ground 14A or Ground 17 in Schedule 2 (grounds for possession of dwelling houses let on assured tenancies) to the Housing Act 1988;
  • wholly or partly under case 2 of Schedule 15 (grounds for possession of dwelling-houses let on or subject to protected or statutory tenancies) to the Rent Act 1977; or
  • wholly or partly on Ground 7 in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988 (but in this case, the person attending must take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that the dwelling house is unoccupied before delivering a notice of eviction, executing a writ or warrant of possession or, executing a writ or warrant of restitution).

The regulations are set to remain in effect until 11 January 2021. Enforcement should resume thereafter unless the dwelling is in a high risk area (tiers 2 and/or 3).

Where prior section 8 or section 21 notices have been served and subsequently expired there are no restrictions on issuing court proceedings.

If you need advice please contact Josh Millichamp on 01384 889983 or Katie Jones on 01384 880698.