Covid-19 County Court Proceedings

As some of you may know, the 6-month stay on possession proceedings ended on 21st September 2020. We anticipate that in the coming weeks you will see an increasing number of people who have been served with notices by their landlords or who receive correspondence from the Court.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of changes have been made to notice periods and to possession proceedings in the County Court.  We felt it would be helpful to outline the most significant changes in an e-mail to you, so that you can be aware of what to look out for in the coming weeks.   

    1. New Notice Periods 

There have been a number of changes to notice periods depending on when the notice was served. It is therefore important to note when a notice has been served by a landlord and check that the notice period is correct.   

    • Notices served on and before 24 March 2020 must give most tenants 2 months before their landlord can apply to court.  
    • Notices served on 25 March 2020 to 28 August 2020 must give most tenants 3 months before their landlord can apply to court. 
    • From 29 August 2020 up to and including 31 March 2021, most notices must give tenants 6 months before their landlord can apply to Court. However, if 6 months or more rent is owed to a landlord, the notice period is only 4 weeks. 
    • If a landlord has served a notice as a result anti-social behaviour or some other reason, the notice period can be as little as 2 weeks. 

 

  1. New ‘Review Date’

 

Tenants subject to possession proceedings will now receive a Review Date from the Court. This is a major change to the way the County Courts manage possession proceedings.  

The aim of the Review Date is for landlords and tenants to try to resolve the Court case as early as possible and avoid lengthy Court proceedings.  

The Review Date is a new opportunity for tenants to obtain early advice in their Court matter. This advice will be provided free of charge by a duty adviser, over the telephone, on the day of their Review Date. The Courts will notify tenants of their Review Date by letter. Neither the landlord nor tenants should attend Court on the Review Date. 

It is extremely important that on the day of their Review Date, tenants contact the duty adviser on the telephone number provided for advice.  

If the landlord and tenant are not able to resolve the issues on the Review Date, it is likely that the Court will list the matter for a Substantive Hearing 28 days later. The Substantive Hearing will be the same as pre-Covid 19 hearings: parties will generally be expected to attend Court and the hearing will take place before a Judge.  

We will be announcing a new training program which will cover these changes in more detail in due course. In the meantime, please refer to the Housing Advice page on our website for updates.

We remain open and available to provide telephone advice as normal. To speak with one of the team you can contact our housing solicitors between 2 -5 pm on Wednesdays on 020 8148 5274. Alternatively, you can email hflaw@hflaw.org.uk or call 020 3880 1727 and leave a voicemail with your name and phone number and we’ll call you back.

 

Kind regards,

Bianca

 

Office Administrator

Hammersmith & Fulham Law Centre

1st Floor Hammersmith Library

Shepherds Bush Road

W6 7AT

Tel: 0208 148 5270