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Newsflash: Cardiff CC v Flowers consultation and changes to rules on enforcement of suspended possession orders

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30/08/2018

Rob Aberdein explains proposed changes to the Civil Procedure Rules following the Cardiff CC v Flowers consultation on enforcement of suspended possession orders.

Background

Following the Court of Appeal judgment in Cardiff City Council v Lee (Flowers) [1], a consultation took place from 28 June 2017 to 30 August 2017 seeking views on whether amendments should be made to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) on the enforcement of suspended possession orders.

In that case, the claimant local authority had obtained a suspended possession order against the defendant tenant in respect of breaches of the tenancy agreement relating to conduct. The Court of Appeal confirmed that, where a landlord wishes to enforce a suspended order for possession because the tenant has breached the terms of the order, the landlord is required, by CPR 83.2 (3) (e), to apply for the court’s permission before a warrant of possession is issued.

As a result, claimants seeking possession have been incurring the additional costs and delay associated with seeking court permission, together with the risk and uncertainty of the court not accepting that further breaches have taken place.

New Rules

Following the consultation, the CPR Committee has now approved changes to CPR 83.2 (3) (e) which, subject to ministerial consent, will be effective from 1 October 2018.

Whilst full details of these new rules have not yet been released, it is understood that permission to seek a warrant for possession in a mortgage claim will not be required following a breach of an order suspended on monthly payments towards the arrears.

As yet, it is not clear whether a distinction will be made for cases where there is a non-monetary breach.

Impact

The new rules should speed up the enforcement process, taking up less court time and saving costs for the claimant. It should be noted, however, that a defendant will still be able to seek a stay of the warrant on the usual grounds.

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[1] [2016] EWCA Civ 1034; and see Walker Morris’ earlier briefings for further information and advice

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