Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules has been amended. The changes will come into force on 6 April 2020.
The Civil Procedure Rules govern all actions in the Civil Courts. Part 55 of these Rules deal with possession cases including those for residential tenancies. The Rules are regularly reviewed and updated with the most recent update including an amendment to the accelerated possession process.
Accelerated possession proceedings are a means by which landlords can recover their properties on a fast track basis. Whether the process is quicker than the standard possession proceedings is a post for another day. However, the accelerated process is popular amongst landlords and agents because it is a paper-based application without a hearing.
The amendment means that any tenancy which first started prior to 27 February 1997 can no longer have possession recovered via the accelerated procedure. Essentially this change acts to remove assured shortholds tenancies that started between the coming into force of the Housing Act 1988 and the coming into force of the Housing Act 1996. These tenancies would only have been assured shorthold tenancies if the landlord had served a section 20 notice on the tenant prior to the start of the tenancy otherwise they would have defaulted to fully assured tenancies, as did all 1988 Act tenancies prior to the coming into force of the Housing Act 1996.
The rules have also been tightened so that you can now only use the accelerated process if you are in possession of written tenancy agreements for the entire tenancy and its predecessors. The only exception to this is where you have a written tenancy agreement and the tenancy has then been continued as a statutory periodic tenancy.
While these changes won’t affect many tenancies and so the impact will be limited it seems that the objective is to simplify the accelerated process (for the courts service more than for users!) by removing from the process tenancies which require more paperwork or more detailed consideration.
The contents of this blog post is not legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only. If legal advice is needed readers should contact a solicitor. No responsibility for any information contained within this post is accepted and PainSmith solicitors accepts no liability in respect of the contents or for action taken based on this post.
Published 18 February 2020