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27 March, 2020 Open access

HMCTS to suspend all ongoing housing possession action for initial period of 90 days from today

Government also confirms that it is working with the Master of Rolls to strengthen the pre-action protocol requirement and extend this to the private rented sector

The government has announced that Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is to suspend all ongoing housing possession action.

Setting out the support available for landlords and renters in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the government confirms that, from 26 March 2020, landlords will have to give all renters three months’ notice if they intend to seek possession, as set out in section 81 and schedule 29 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The government goes on to announce that, following a decision by the Master of the Rolls with the Lord Chancellor's agreement, HMCTS will suspend all ongoing housing possession action from 27 March 2020, and that -

'... this means that neither cases currently in the system or any about to go in to it can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted. This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed. This measure will protect all private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This will apply to both England and Wales.'

The government also confirms that it is working with the Master of Rolls to strengthen the pre-action protocol requirement and extend this to the private rented sector, with the aim of helping landlords and tenants to agree reasonable repayment plans where rent arrears may have arisen.

For more information, see Government support available for landlords and renters reflecting the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak from gov.uk

Stop press: the Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland have now issued Practice Direction 51Z (PD) on staying possession proceedings in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.