COVID-19: Claims for possession of residential property

19th March 2020

We look at claims for possession of residential property where tenants are affected by the coronavirus.

The government issued a press release on 18 March 2020 announcing it will bring in emergency legislation to protect renters to include:-

  1. No new possession claims to be issued for at least 3 months.  Until the draft bill is published it is not known whether the ban will affect only rent arrears claims, or if it will include “no fault” claims after service of a section 21 notice.
  1. The current pre-action protocol for possession claims (applicable to social landlords) will be strengthened and extended to private landlords and introduced after 3 months (or more depending on 1 above).  The protocol aims to ensure landlords attempt to resolve disputes with tenants, taking into consideration the financial pressures they are facing.
  1. There is already a 3 month mortgage payment “holiday” for homeowners.  This is extended for buy to let landlords whose tenants are facing financial difficulties.  After 3 months, or whatever later date, landlords and tenants are expected to come to arrangements for repayment over a period of time taking into consideration the tenant’s individual circumstances.
  1. Guidance is also expected to be published which will ask landlords to show compassion to tenants who are affected by the coronavirus so that wherever possible they are able to remain in their homes.

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