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Newsflash: Covid-related possession arrangements coming to an end

What do residential landlords and lenders need to know?

Practice Direction 55C was inserted into the Civil Procedure Rules in 2020 as a temporary provision to confirm how the courts would deal with possession claims in light of the pandemic.

On 3 November 2021, the Master of Rolls announced provisions for the coming to an end of Covid-related temporary arrangements.  The following amendments have therefore now been incorporated into PD 55C with effect from tomorrow – 30 November 2021:

  • For claims issued on or after 1 December 2021 and up to 30 June 2022, PD 55C paragraphs 6.1 and 6.2 will continue to apply, meaning that landlords will continue to be required to file and service a Covid Knowledge Notice, setting out what knowledge the landlord has as to the effect of the pandemic on the defendant and its dependents/household.
  • Otherwise, claims issued on or after 1 December 2021 should be listed straight to a possession hearing.
  • For claims issued prior to 1 December 2021, PD55C will continue to apply except that the need for a Review Date and the prioritisation of cases (i.e. according to ‘Covid-marking’) will come to an end and cases will be listed directly to a substantive hearing.

What practical advice arises?

It is to be hoped that these measures, which mark the beginning of a return to business as usual for possession proceedings, will begin to speed-up the time it takes for possession claims to come before the courts.

Residential landlords/lenders should, however, exercise real caution and take specialist advice when it comes to the timing and service of notices and possession proceedings, as any procedural error at this stage could invalidate the claim.



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