Social Landlord Update – New Possession and Disrepair Pre Action Protocols

As of the 13th January 2020, there are two new Pre Action Protocols which landlords need be aware of.

They are:

  • Pre Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair/ Conditions – you can get a copy by clicking on this link:

  • Pre Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords – you can get a copy by clicking on this link

In summary the changes to the possession protocol (albeit minor) are:

  1. The protocol now aims to ensure that in cases where arguments around human rights, equality law or public law are raised, the necessary information is before the Court at the first hearing so that it can deal with it summarily or provide directions.

    This may well be easier said then done!

    Often, the first a landlord hears of such arguments is when a tenant is seen by a duty solicitor.  Nevertheless you should arm yourselves with any information that may be relevant and you may want to make reference to any relevant facts in any witness statement and at the very least, the pre action protocol checklist.

  1. Not less than 10 days before the hearing landlords will need to disclose what they know about a tenant’s benefits in relation to their housing costs.

    Usually you will have up to date information on the benefit situation and again this should be included in any witness statement.  You should also include this in the pre action protocol checklist.

  1. It is now clear that Part 3 of the Protocol applies to mandatory and no security of tenure, possession claims.

    This means landlords must send the pre action protocol letter to the tenant / occupier before issuing a claim explaining why your organisation intends to seek possession and requiring the occupants, within a specified time, to notify the landlord in writing of any personal circumstances or other matters which they wish to have taken into account.  You should also consider any representations received and, if you decide to proceed with a claim for possession, give brief written reasons for doing so.

    All this information must be included in your witness statement.

In summary the changes to the disrepair protocol are:

  1. ‘Housing disrepair’ is replaced throughout by ‘Housing conditions’ – this is due to the changes made to a landlords repairing obligations by the Homes (Fitness For Human Habitation) Act 2018 (“HFFHH Act”) Landlords should note, this will be in force to all existing tenancies from 20 March 2020, if you aren’t ready for the changes please contact us for further advice, training and support, its not too late!
  1. It now confirms that any claims under the HFFHH Act should follow the disrepair pre action protocol.
  1. The template Letter of Claim and template Letter of Instruction to an Expert, at Annex A & B have been amended. These templates should however simply be a starting point and should be amended to reflect the issues in the case, particularly if the claim is brought under the HFFHH ActIf you have any questions or queries in relation to the new Pre Action Protocols please do not hesitate to contact us below.