The Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, has announced that the Stay on Bailiff’s Possession Warrants which had been set to end on 21 February 2021 will now be extended until at least 31 March 2021. 

He said the move was to ensure renters remain protected “during this difficult time” and that the ban on enforcement by Bailiffs will continue in all but the most serious cases.

Exceptions to the Stay remain: illegal occupation; false statement given to obtain a tenancy; anti-social behaviour; perpetrators of domestic violence in the Social Housing Sector; where the property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant; and where there are serious rent arrears that are greater than six months rent – it is not now relevant if those arrears arose after March 2020.  Where the Landlord is relying on an exception an Application must be made to the Court for the Judge to confirm that such an exception does exist.  There is no fee for this Application. 

Landlords have called for the Government to provide a package of loans and grants needed for what they expect to be an increasing debt crisis.

The National Residential Landlord Association believe that there are currently over 800,0000 private renters who have built up arrears since lockdown measures started last year.    The position is likely to become more serious once the furlough provisions come to an end on 30 April 2021 (subject to any further extension).

Landlords can still take action.  Notices Seeking Possession may still be served on tenants  but must comply with the extended notice periods the Government previously introduced. 

Possession Proceedings can also be submitted to the Court and will be issued.

The Courts are seeking to address the substantial backlog of cases following the stay of Possession Proceedings.  The Courts have  introduced revised procedures including a Review of each case (without a Hearing )  to identify those proceedings that require  a substantive  hearing.   Any substantive Hearing will take place at a specific time with the Court operating appropriate Coronavirus  protection measures  to assist those attending, if the hearing is not dealt with remotely by video or telephone.   

Proceedings can still be issued for money judgements for rent arrears only.

The Courts will allow  emergency applications to include Injunction Applications both regarding anti-social behaviour and for access to enable statutory safety checks to be carried out . 

Possession Proceedings have become increasingly complex at all stages as a result of a succession of Coronavirus regulations being introduced by the Government; Landlords should seek specialist legal advice to make sure that all steps they take comply with the latest requirements

Please contact Jeremy Teall, Head of Landlord & Tenant, if you have any queries related to this blog, or require any assistance with a possession claim –