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Property litigation matter queries please call contact John Spence, Partner, CooperBurnett Solicitors Tunbridge Wells Kent

By Lee Quickenden, Associate Legal Executive

Further to our recent blog post in respect of the courts re-opening for possession cases on 24 August, the government has announced a last minute reprieve for struggling tenants and extended the restriction on cases being brought before the court for a further period of four weeks until 20 September 2020.

At this stage it is unknown as to whether this is a final extension or whether the restrictions will be extended further with the only statement of intent being that the government will keep these measures under review, with decisions guided by the latest public health advice.

Housing Minister, Robert Jenrick announced the extension on 21 August 2020, at the same time as setting out some clarity on how the courts would deal with the backlog of cases when the courts reopened.  When courts do resume eviction hearings, they will carefully prioritise the most egregious cases, ensuring landlords are able to progress the most serious cases, such as those involving anti-social behaviour and other crimes, as well as where landlords have not received rent for sustained period and are facing unmanageable debts.    

In practice, it is again unknown as to how this will be dealt with but it is advisable that when asking the courts to resume a case that a covering letter setting out some hardships as those listed above should be brought to the court’s attention.

Finally, the government also announced that to keep levels of evictions down throughout the winter months, it is intending to extend the notice period (which was already extended to three months) to a period of six months up to the 31 March 2021. It has not been announced as to when the relevant date for notices to comply with the six month ruling will come into force, but we would expect it to apply from at least 21 August 2020 onwards.

As ever, the position with possession cases and the law in this area remains a moving target during this pandemic and, if you are unsure of your position, you should seek urgent advice.

If you have any questions about this or any other property litigation matter, please call contact John Spence, Partner, on tel: 01892 515022 JS@cooperburnett.com or Lee Quickenden, Associate Legal Executive, on tel: 01892 515022 lkq@cooperburnett.com

This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.

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August 26, 2020
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