As you should know, all possession proceedings were stayed between March and September 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic and as a result of both that and the need for social distancing in the courts, there are now massive delays in all court claims.
However the notice periods are due to go back to pre-pandemic levels on 1 October – but with new forms. So no point now in serving a possession notice before then.
Our general advice is as follows:
- Contact the tenants and see if you can resolve things amicably between yourselves
- If this proves difficult, try one of the mediation services
- If agreement proves impossible and you need to evict, use solicitors
- If you decide to act in person in eviction proceedings – be aware that most Judges will be looking for an excuse to adjourn or dismiss your claim in order to reduce the burden of work on the courts and homelessness generally. So be very, very careful and double-check everything at least three times. Be aware also that saving money on legal fees at this time could easily prove to be a false economy.
- In most cases, if the tenant is in arrears of rent you should use the section 8 procedure based on rent arrears as your claim may (if the arrears are serious) be given priority under the coronavirus rules. This will not happen if you use the section 21 procedure, even if the arrears are actually very serious.
You will find a list of our recommended solicitors here.