Further to our most recent update The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (the “2020 Regulations”) came into force on 17 November 2020.
The purpose behind the 2020 Regulations is to protect public health by preventing people from being evicted from their homes at a time when transmission rates are high and local authorities and the NHS are under additional strain.
With effect from 17 November 2020, the 2020 Regulations prevented enforcement agents or bailiffs, up until 11 January 2021, attending residential premises in England to:
- Execute a writ or warrant of possession;
- Execute a writ or warrant of restitution; or
- Deliver a notice of eviction.
There are exceptions to this, the most common being where there are substantial rent arrears (at least 9 months) and anti-social behaviour.
Although due to end on 11 January, further regulations, The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021 (the “2021 Regulations”), came into force on 8 January 2021 for the purpose of amending and extending the ban under the 2020 Regulations, until 21 February 2021. Since then, the 2021 Regulations have been further extended by 6 weeks by the Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) (No. 2) Regulations 2021 and are now due to end on 31 March 2021 alongside many other temporary measures created resulting from COVID-19.
The amendments made to the 2020 Regulations in the 2021 Regulations are as follows:
- Removing the provision preventing a person attending a dwelling to execute a writ or warrant of restitution.
That said, a temporary new CPR provision, PD 55C, applicable until 30 July 2021, sets out the steps to reactivate proceedings and the procedural requirements applicable to existing and new possession claims.
- Decreasing the required rent arrears exception from 9 to 6 months.
The 2021 Regulations only apply to bailiff-enforced evictions and therefore it is important to note that tenants can still be served with a notice of eviction under either section 8 or section 21 before 31 March 2021.