What goes up must come down - the temporary stay of proceedings for possession claims will come to an end on the 23 August 2020.
However, claims will not be revived automatically and it will not be “back to normal” for landlords wishing to take back possession of their properties. Instead, they shall have to follow Practice Direction 55C which will be in force from 23 August 2020 to 28 March 2021.
Apart from claims brought after 3 August 2020 or in which a final possession order has been made, Practice Direction 55C requires parties to stayed possession claims to file and serve a “reactivation notice” before their claim is revived. The reactivation notice must confirm that the party filing the notice wishes the claim to proceed and will set out any knowledge the filing party has of the effect of the pandemic on the defendant. Additionally, if a landlord’s possession claim is based on rent arrears, the landlord serving the reactivation notice must include an updated rent account for the previous two years.
The Government is clearly hoping to restrict the proverbial floodgates with these new measures, attempting to manage the vast number of claims that have been stayed since March. Landlords seeking possession should be mindful of the extra administrative burden created by the new measures.