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Unintended Consequences for COVID 19 Restrictions – Restriction on Enforcement

This is our second instalment in our series on the unintended consequences of the COVID 19 restrictions.  In this serious we will be discussion the effects of the Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020, which came into force in England today.  The  guidelines issued by the Lord Chancellor provide the following advice.

Residential tenancies (protection from eviction)

During the national lockdown that began on 5th November, enforcement agents may not carry out residential evictions or serve notice of eviction unless the order for possession is made:

  • Against trespassers pursuant to a claim to which rule 55.6 (service of claims against trespassers) of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998(2) applies
  • Wholly or partly under section 84A (absolute ground for possession for anti-social behaviour) of the Housing Act 1985
  • Wholly or partly on ground 2, 2A or 5 of schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988
  • Wholly or partly on ground 7 of schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988 – the enforcement agent must take reasonable steps to ensure the residential premises are empty before serving notice or enforcing the writ/warrant of possession
  • Wholly or partly on ground 7A, 14, 14A or 17 of schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1985
  • Wholly or partly on case 2 of schedule 15 of the Rent Act 1977
  • Where there are substantial rent arrears

This regulation expires on 11th January 2021.

Substantial rent arrears

 The statutory instrument has specified the circumstances under which landlords may evict tenants when there are substantial rent arrears.

  • There must be arrears equivalent to at least nine months’ rent outstanding at the date on which the order for possession is granted
  • The arrears must have accrued before 23rd March 2020. Any unpaid rent arrears accrued after 23rd March 2020 must be disregarded

Taking control of goods

Enforcement visits are permitted during the national lockdown, provided that enforcement agents adhere to the Covid-secure guidance. Regulation 3 in this statutory instrument states that they may not enter residential premises to take control of goods.

Regulation 3 expires at the end of the national lockdown that started on 5th November.

More information and advice, whether you are a landlord, tenancy, judgement creditor or judgement debtor, please contact Seyi Clement on 020 3223 0801