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Positive news for landlords experiencing trespassers during the Coronavirus pandemic

The Ministry of Justice has revised the Civil Procedure Rules concerning possession proceedings against trespassers during the pandemic.

The Ministry of Justice has revised the Civil Procedure Rules concerning possession proceedings against trespassers during the pandemic. This change is effective from 18th April 2020 and clarifies that the stay of 90 days imposed from 27th March 2020 (until 24 June 2020) no longer applies to claims against trespassers (to which CPR 55.6 applies) or to applications for interim possession.

Cases that had previously been stayed can be progressed once parties agree to Court Directions to progress their case. This is relevant to all proceedings for possession brought under CPR 55 and all proceedings to enforce an order for possession by a warrant or writ of possession. Landlords seeking to remove trespassers can also bring proceedings to Court. This is a welcome relief to landlords who hitherto were unable to take action against trespassers.

Parties are also in a position to apply to the court for directions by consent. The issue of new possession proceedings are also possible for Landlords seeking to remove trespassers. This is a welcome relief to landlords who until now were unable to take action against trespassers.

More specifically, the amendment to the rules now makes it possible for landlords to apply for interim possession orders. Interim possession proceedings are an alternative to the standard procedure designed to remove trespassers faster. This means landlords with an urgent need to remove trespassers are now able to do so.

The claims that had previously been stayed can proceed subject to the agreement of the parties to case management directions. In practice this means that the Court can consider on the papers whether to grant the proposed directions and will not require attendance of the parties in Court. Ultimately means, that cases which were effectively stayed (delayed) can resume, although subject to consent.

Bringing a matter to Court is usually a last resort but more and more Landlords are being faced with the struggle of trespassers. With Court resources becoming ever limited during the pandemic and limitations imposed by the Court as to which case will be dealt with first, landowners are put in a difficult position, particularly in light of a rule that imposed a stay on possession proceedings. This was a problem for landowners who found themselves unable to evict trespassers or ‘persons unknown’.

Before proceedings are bought landlords should seek legal advice as it is important to be mindful that there are particular rules relating to service of the notice and the court proceedings themselves which must be adhered to. It is easy for the procedural requirements to be overlooked. Any technical error could result in rejection of the claim and potentially an adverse order for costs. If you are a landowner in this difficult situation and you require further advice on how to deal with trespassers or unwanted persons please don’t hesitate to contact our Paul Magee on 01244408317 Paul.magee@lindermyers.co.uk or Ivan Ellero on 0161 837 6821 ivan.ellero@lindermyers.co.uk

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