From 6 April 2020, there is a new accelerated possession claim form N5B used in England.
Given all possession claims are currently suspended for 90 days since 27 March 2020, it’s not going to have any great effect right now. It also gives us time to update the website with the new form!
The form is substantially changed beyond recognition of earlier N5B forms.
It’s considerably longer than previous versions.
It now uses a system where if you answer one question a particular way, you can jump a number of answers onto the next question.
Crucially, there are new questions such as:
Was a copy of a valid gas safety record provided to the Defendant before they went into occupation of the property?
And, copies of ALL the gas safety records throughout the tenancy must be attached to the claim form which is new (in addition to the one given before occupation). We don’t quite understand the relevance of providing ALL gas safety records throughout the tenancy. The gas safety record regulations (as amended) only require them to be kept … until there have been two further checks of the appliance or flue … or, in respect of an appliance or flue that is removed from the premises, for a period of 2 years from the date of the last check of that appliance or flue.
There are also questions about whether the landlord has received any prohibited payment since the tenant fees ban.
There are lot’s of other new questions and we will take a good look and update the website accordingly in due course.
At the time of writing, it only appears to be the England version which has changed. Wales remains the same. No doubt this is due to the big changes coming at some point in Wales in relation to tenancies and possession generally.
At the time of writing, the claim forms used for a section 8 notice, N5 and N119, remain the same. However, due to changes in the form of a statement of truth (see in a moment), it’s likely they too will change soon. If the claim is for rent arrears only, the Possession Claim Online (PCOL) will normally be used after a section 8 notice.
In addition to the new claim for accelerated possession above, from 6 April 2020, there are significant changes to statements of truth which is the text put at the bottom of various court documents including (not an exhaustive list):
- witness statements
- statements of case
- certificate of service
Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) 32.14 provides for the consequences of a false statement being made:
(1) Proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against a person if he makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.
(Part 22 makes provision for a statement of truth)
Practice Direction 22 contains the form which a statement of truth must take:
A statement of case (particulars of claim, defence etc.), a response, an application notice or a notice of objections should be as follows:
‘[I believe][the (claimant or as may be) believes] that the facts stated in this [name document being verified] are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.’
A witness statement should be as follows (and provided in the language of the witness statement):
‘I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.’
The statement of truth must be signed and dated with the date it was signed.
A sample witness statement is provided on the Justice website but at the time of writing (7 April 2020) has not been updated to incorporate the new rules so mustn’t be used