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Housing and Regeneration Act

The Housing and Regeneration Act has introduced important changes in the Housing Act 1988 and particularly in the way that tenancies are ended by the Court.

This has been done to end the problems caused by so-called tolerated trespassers. This bizarre status came about due to the decision in Harlow DC v Hall where the Court ruled that a suspended possession order actually had the effect of terminating the tenancy but prevented the landlord from executing the order by seeking possession as long as the occupier kept to the conditions imposed on the order. This had the effect of creating a new class of occupier, the tolerated trespasser, who were people whose tenancies had been brought to an end but who could not actually be removed from the property.

This unsatisfactory state of affairs was resolved in part by changes to the Civil Procedure Rules and the creation of a new type of possession order, the postponed order. However, the position has been further resolved by the Housing and Regenration Act. This has amended section 5 of the Housing Act 1988 along with other relevant legislation to make clear that tebnancies do not come to an end merely by Court order but actually by the execution of that order by the Bailiff. This means that tolerated trespassers will no longer be created as their tenancy will remain active even on the making of a suspended order and will only bve brought to an end by the execution of that order if the tenant fails to keep to the conditions for its continued suspension.

While this resolves the tolerated trespasser issue it does create a new problems, albeit a fairly small one. This is that when an order has been made and there is uncertainty about whether the tenant has vacated the preference will now have to be to instruct the Bailiff. Whether this will mean that the Bailiff service will become busier remains to be seen.

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