The 49th update to the Civil Procedure Rules comes into force on 6 April 2009. Part of the update amends rule 55 which governs possession actions and, particularly, amends the rules on mortgagee possession claims.
Currently rule 55.10 requires that the mortgagee send a letter to the property addressed to ‘The Occupiers’ not less than 14 days before the hearing for possession. This requirement has been amended to force the mortgagee to send the notice not more than 5 days after receipt of the hearing details thus giving occupiers approximately 2-3 weeks more warning of a possession hearing.
Unfortunately the rules do not require any more than this and many people assume post addressed to ‘The Occupiers’ to be junk mail – something the amendment could easily have addressed by requiring a notification on the outside of the envelope. However, where such a notice is not sent in time the tenants could appear in Court and seek an adjournment of the hearing due to the mortgagee’s failure to comply with the rules. The added cost of this might induce the mortgagee to negotiate with the tenants – allowing them to stay in the property on payment of rent direct to the mortgagee, for example.
In practical terms, those acting for tenants should remind them to open all post addressed to ‘The Occupiers’ and should keep in mind the possibility of forcing an adjournment where the rules have not been adhered to as a method of extracting concessions from the mortgagee.
With thanks to Francis Davey.