A quick note about an update to the Civil Procedure Rules by The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2020 and The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 3) Rules 2020.

Accelerated Possession Procedure

The amendments make changes to the conditions when accelerated possession procedure (APP) can be used but are not likely to affect landlords greatly.

Previously, it was the case that to use APP, there had to be evidence of a written agreement. This is now slightly expanded upon and is now that all the tenancies under which the defended has occupied the property were the subject of written agreements or arose from a statutory periodic tenancy.

In addition, previously, it was possible to use APP for a tenancy which started before 28 February 1997 (as long as it was an assured shorthold tenancy). This is now changed and in order to use APP, the first tenancy must have started on or after 28 February 1997.

The full conditions in using APP are now:

  • the tenancy and any agreement for the tenancy were entered into on or after 28 February 1997;
  • the only purpose of the claim is to recover possession of the property and no other claim is made;
  • the tenancy did not immediately follow an assured tenancy which was not an assured shorthold tenancy;
  • the tenancy fulfilled the conditions provided by section 19A of the 1988 Act;
  • all the tenancies under which the defendant has occupied the property—
    • were the subject of written agreements; or
    • arose by virtue of section 5 of the 1988 Act.”.

Enforcement of Possession Orders

From 23 August 2020, there is a new requirement that at least 14 days notice must be given to the occupiers before a writ or warrant is executed. This applies to both the County Court bailiff and High Court Enforcement Officers.

The notice must in a prescribed form and must contain the names of all persons whom the possession order is made against as well as “any other occupiers”.

The notice must be delivered by-

  • inserting it through the letter box in a sealed transparent envelope; or, if that is not practicable—
  • attaching a copy to the main door or some other part of the land so that it is clearly visible; or
  • if that is not practicable, placing stakes in the land in places where they are clearly visible and attaching to each stake a copy of the notice in a sealed transparent envelope.

The only exceptions are if the occupiers are trespassers (but not where a previous permission to be on the land had been given) or, if the court gives express dispensation.

This will have the effect of aligning High Court Enforcement with County Court bailiffs who will all now have to give notice before executing a writ or warrant of possession.

These changes are permanent and aren’t brought in temporary as a result of the ongoing pandemic.