The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 come into force on 17 November 2020.
The Regulations prohibit the executions of warrants/writs of possession or the delivery of notices of eviction, with some limited exceptions. The limited exceptions include claims based on trespass, anti-social behaviour, nuisance, death of the former tenant, and false statements which induced the granting of the tenancy.
A further exception, which is perhaps most notable to LPC Law’s clients and stakeholders, is that evictions are permitted to proceed if the possession order was granted based on ‘substantial rent arrears’, based on Grounds 8, 10 or 11 of the Housing Act 1988 (as amended), or the equivalent provisions from the Housing Act 1985 (Ground 1 in Schedule 2) and the Rent Act 1977 (case 1 of Schedule 15).
Substantial rent arrears has a definition within the Regulations at Regulation 2 (4)(a). This is where at least 9 months’ worth of arrears were outstanding on the date on which the possession order was made. Those arrears must have accrued prior to 23 March 2020, the date on which the first national lockdown was announced.
Alongside the postponement of the majority of evictions until the next calendar, the Regulation 3 also imposes a ban on bailiffs from entering dwelling houses in order to take control of goods in accordance with Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.