The Government has recently announced what will happen when the stay of possession proceedings expires on 23 August 2020, with new compulsory steps which will have to be taken if a Claimant wishes to continue with proceedings. These changes have been introduced pursuant to The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 4) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020, which introduce a new Practice Direction, PD55C.
PD55C will invoke the following key changes:
- Where a Claimant wishes to continue with the possession proceedings after the stay expires, it will be required to file a “reactivation notice” to inform the Court (and other parties, upon which the notice must also be served) of its intention. This is an important step for a Claimant seeking possession, as if it fails to do so, the claim will remain dormant;
- Where the claim includes non-payment of rent, the particulars of claim must explain what (if any) effect COVID-19 has had on the Defendant. If the claim has already been issued, this information should be set out in the reactivation notice or in advance of any hearing;
- The standard period between the issue of the claim form and the first hearing, which is usually no longer than 8 weeks, is suspended, allowing the Court to spread out hearings more evenly, if necessary; and
- The Claimant will be encouraged to produce the full arrears history in advanced of the hearing, rather than at the hearing itself.
PD55C is set to expire on 28 March 2021.
If you need any assistance in complying with these new requirements, we would be pleased to assist. Please contact a member of our Property Dispute Resolution Team.
RELATED: PROPERTY DISPUTE RESOLUTION