Since 27 March 2020, all housing possession actions have been suspended as part of the government’s package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus.
From Sunday 20 September, this suspension will be lifted, and court possession proceedings will resume.
Over the last few months, we’ve been taking part in a cross-sector working group that has been considering how courts should manage possession proceedings once the eviction ban ends. This has allowed us to share our members’ views on which cases should be prioritised by the courts.
The courts have now agreed a list of priorities, including anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and abandonment, to ensure they hear the most pressing cases first when they reopen. The Master of the Rolls has published a statement and further information on the arrangements to put this prioritisation process into practice.
The government has also issued comprehensive guidance on the possession action process. This includes further information on how to handle a claim for possession already in the court system, where you will need to issue a reactivation notice if you want to proceed with the case.
In addition, to provide protection for residents through the pandemic the government has extended the notice period for evictions to six months, except in the most serious cases. This came into force on 29 August and the government has published updated guidance on these new regulations.
Housing associations understand that many residents are worried about what the end of the evictions ban will mean, with many people concerned about their job and getting into debt. Any resident worried about paying their rent should contact their housing association, who will help. You can read more about this commitment in our sector statement.
We have also published a briefing on how housing associations are supporting tenancy sustainment and income collection through the coronavirus crisis. This includes case studies from our members that outline how they are helping residents to alleviate financial hardship, changing approaches to income collection, and increasing resident engagement despite the challenges of lockdown.
If you would like to find out more about this work, please get in touch.