The stay on possession claims relating to residential properties has finally been lifted and one of the biggest changes to note, has been the implementation of Reactivation Notices as part of the new Civil Procedure Practice Direction 55C.
What is a Reactivation Notice and will you need one?
In a nutshell, if you began a possession claim prior to the 3rd August 2020 and you would like to reactivate it, you must serve a Reactivation Notice to the tenant before this can happen. The Reactivation Notice informs the tenant/defendant of where the claim against them is up to and confirms to them what knowledge the Landlord has of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the defendant.
If the claim was brought before 03 August 2020 then the claim is not to be listed, relisted, heard or referred to a judge until a Reactivation Notice is filed and served to the tenant (unless the court directs otherwise). It must be in writing in and comply with the information set out within Practice Direction 55C. The notice will need to include;
-the landlord and tenant’s names, the court name and the court claim number.
-what you are asking the court to do with your hearing i.e., listed, relisted, heard or referred to a judge
-any information you have about the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the tenant and their dependants.
- an updated rent account for the previous years if the claim is based on arrears.
Generally they are applicable to ‘stayed claims’ (those started and then delayed), but not those in which a final order has already been made.
If the claim was made after the 03 August 2020 then it is not necessary to serve a Reactivation Notice. The matter will be listed accordingly, but a form of Reactivation Notice will still need to be served no less than 14 days prior to the hearing focused on the impact of the Coronavirus on the tenant/Defendant.
The reasoning behind this new notice is to encourage parties to communicate and where possible reach a settlement, before going to Court.
By encouraging landlords to investigate and hold discussions with their tenants in relation to the impact of coronavirus, it is hoped that settlements can be reached. Further guidance to support this process is to be provided over next few weeks. We can support both Landlords and Tenants in this process as required.
It is important to prepare Reactivation Notices carefully, thoroughly and in as much detail as possible. Considering that the courts are expected to be overwhelmed by significant backlogs after the stay on possession claims is lifted, it will not be surprising if faulty or incomplete Reactivation Notices are simply not processed, or even if an opportunity is allowed to rectify a Reactivation notice, the resulting delay to the parties could be substantial.
There are also other significant changes to the process, which you will need to consider and ensure you comply with in making a claim and resuming a stayed claim. We therefore encourage you to seek legal advice regarding any ongoing claim so that you have clarity with the next steps in moving a claim forward.
In DR we can help you navigate these at this difficult time and avoid falling foul of the processes, that may cause delay to the action you wish to take. Contact us on 01246 560 560 to see if we can help or email firstname.lastname@example.org,uk.