Landlord & Tenant: Can I obtain possession of my property during lockdown?

It is difficult to predict what the next few months will hold for those wishing to obtain possession of their property. Protection for tenants has been a major concern for the Government since the start of the pandemic, with many tenants fearing losing their home on top of job cuts and money worries. However, there are limited circumstances which still allow some possession claims to proceed.

Notice Periods

At the time of writing, landlords requiring their tenant to vacate the property must provide 6 months’ notice in most circumstances. This restriction imposed by the Government is set to remain in place until 31 March 2021 and we do not yet know whether this will be changed or extended.

There are some exempted grounds which might mean you can apply for possession sooner, including anti-social behaviour and substantial rent arrears of more than 6 months.

If you are unsure whether you are eligible to serve a notice on one of the exempted grounds, get in touch for further advice from one of our dispute resolution specialists.

Enforcement of Possession

There is currently a ‘stay’ of enforcement for possession proceedings.

This means that temporary rules have been put in place by the Government to prevent bailiffs from issuing eviction notices to tenants, unless the case relates to one of the exempted grounds.

If the court is satisfied that one of the exempted grounds applies, a request for a Warrant of Possession can be applied for. Once granted, the bailiff can enforce the Warrant of Possession. If however, one or more of the exempted grounds cannot be established, the stay of enforcement remains in force.

This temporary legislation is due for review again by the Government on 31 March 2021. Until that date, it is unlikely that many evictions will take place unless in the most serious circumstances.

If you are a landlord and think you may have grounds to apply for possession or you are looking for further advice and possession and eviction generally, contact a member of our dispute resolution team for further advice.

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