Possession Claims & Reactivation Notices

The stay in possession claims will end on 23rd August 2020.

Practice Direction 55C will come into effect from that date and will then determine how the Courts will deal with possession claims until 28th March 2021.

It affects both possession claims issued before and after 23rd August 2020 differently.

Here is what we know so far…

What will happen to possession claims brought before 3rd August 2020, where no possession order has been made?

They will not be listed or re-listed for a hearing or heard until a party files and serves a ‘reactivation notice.’

What needs to be included in a reactivation notice?

It must:

  • Confirm whether your organisation wants the case to be listed, relisted, heard or referred; and
  • Set out what knowledge your organisation has as to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and dependants; and
  • If the possession claim is on the basis of rent, your organisation must also attach an up to date rent statement for the last two years.

What if your possession trial date was set before the 27th March 2020?

The 27th March 2020 is important, this is when the original stay came into force.

For any trial date that was set prior to 27th March 2020, this trial date will be vacated and the case stayed unless a reactivation notice, updated rent account and draft directions are filed and served not less than 42 days prior to the hearing date.

What happens if we don’t file a reactivation notice?

If no such notice is filed by 4pm on 29th January 2021, the claim is stayed automatically.

What happens if directions had been made on a possession claim before 23rd August 2020?

When filing the reactivation notice, you must also file:

  •  A copy of the last directions order; and
  • A statement in writing whether the case is suitable for hearing by video or audio link
  • And either:
    • New draft directions order with new dates for compliance; OR
    • A statement in writing confirming no new directions are required and the existing hearing date can be met;

Any reply from the other party must be within 14 days of service of the reactivation notice.

How much notice must the Court give for any new hearing?

21 days.

Does the Court still have to list first hearings for possession within eight weeks of issue?

No, the court can list it at any time.

What will happen to claims issued after 23rd August 2020 and for stayed claims brought on or after 3rd August 2020?

You must serve a notice on the Defendant 14 days before the hearing.

You must bring two copies of the notice to the hearing and file the notice at Court.

The Notice must;

  1. In a claim to which the Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords is applicable, confirm that your Organisation has complied with that Pre-Action Protocol and detailing how the Claimant has done so; and
  2. In all claimsset out what knowledge your organisation has as to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and dependants.

What about accelerated possession claims?

For all accelerated possession claims after 3rd August 2020 you must file with the claim form a notice setting out what knowledge your organisation has as to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and dependants.

Do we need to make enquires about how the Coronavirus pandemic may have affected the Defendant and dependants?

No, you don’t have to, but it might be a good idea to.

You must put down what knowledge your organisation has. There doesn’t seem to be a positive obligation on your organisation to ask the question. That said, it might be worth asking the Defendant beforehand as you may be able to resolve the matter without the need for litigation.

Do I need to file a reactivation notice if my organisation has a possession order or an SPO?

No. You can apply for the warrant without one in the usual way.

Where can I find the new Practice Direction 55C?

Via this link: https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/CPR-123rd-PD-Update-PD55C-SIGNED.pdf

Contact us, we are here to help

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team, via the below details: