Welsh housing management updates during the COVID-19 pandemic


3rd August 2020

Our Welsh housing management experts examine the recent guidance and changes that have been introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Notices

On the 24 July 2020 The Coronavirus Act 2020 (assured Tenancy and Assured Shorthold Tenancy extension of notice periods) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force. These regulations were expedited having been brought into force only three days after they were made.

The regulations have amended the notice requirements for Wales as follows:

  • 26 March 2020 – 23 July 2020 all Section 8 and Section 21 Notices were required to be for a period of three months.
  • From the 24 July 2020 – 30 September 2020 (though this may be extended):
    • Section 21 Notices are required to give at least 6 months’ notice.
    • Section 8 Notice (NOSPs) for all Grounds except 7A and 14 are to give at least six months’ notice.
    • Section 8 Notices for Grounds 7A and 14 are to give at least three months’ notice.

Possession proceedings

You can continue to enter new claims into the courts but the following should be noted.

There has been an updated practice direction issued in relation to new and ongoing possession claims which will cover both Wales and England.

  1. Proceedings issued before 3 August 2020 (so all claims currently in the system and new claims issued before the 2 August 2020) where there is no possession order.

In order to restart the proceedings you will be required to file and serve a ‘reactivation notice’. There is no prescribed form for this notice but it must include the following information:

  1. Any information you hold in respect of the impact COVID-19 has had on the tenant and their household in respect of their finances, any vulnerabilities, their health, their benefit entitlement and whether or not they are shielding.
  2. Where the case relates to rent arrears an updated rent account statement for the previous two years must be included.
  3. If there have been previous directions in the case a copy of the directions order together with any agreed amendments to the timetable or any proposed updated directions.
  4. Whether or not you consider that the case is suitable for hearing remotely.

Re-activation notices must be served before the 29 January 2021 or the proceedings will be indefinitely stayed.

Once a notice of reactivation has been served the Court will give the parties at least 21 days’ notice of any listed hearings.

  1. Claims issued before the 3 August 2020 where there is an existing possession order.

The practice direction is silent on these claims so it is expected that any existing possession orders, or suspended possession orders which have been breached can be enforced as normal.

  1. Claims issued after the 3 August 2020 and stayed

When issuing these claims you will need to file a notice with your claim outlining the same information as required for in the ‘reactivation notice’.

If you are an RSL this information must be served on the tenant a second time 14 days before any listed hearing. When doing this you will need to file and serve a notice stating that this information has been served. You will also need to bring two copies of these to any listed hearing

Again, there is no prescribed form for this information at the moment.

If you have any questions or queries in relation to the above please do not hesitate to contact us.

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