17 April, 2015
On 06 April 2015, amendments to the Pre-Action Protocol for Possession Claims by Social Landlords came into force. Whilst previously the pre-action protocol related to claims for possession and rent arrears, an important amendment to note is that the pre-action protocol now also applies to mandatory grounds for possession.
Part 2 of the pre-action protocol relates to possession claims based upon rent arrears and reflects the guidance on good practice given to social landlords and RPs in the collection of rent arrears. Part 2 will be familiar to social landlords but the amended pre-action protocol should be reviewed in any event to ensure a provider's procedure incorporates the pre-action protocol to avoid any judicial criticism.
Part 3 of the Pre-Action Protocol
Part 3 of the pre-action protocol is a new addition and social landlords will have to ensure that they incorporate the pre-action protocol into their procedures when dealing with claims for possession where there is a restriction on the court's discretion on making an order for possession and/or to which s.89 Housing Act 1980 applies. For example, in cases of non-secure tenancies, unlawful occupiers, succession claims and the severing of joint tenancies.
The aim of the introduction of Part 3 is to ensure that in cases where Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights is raised as a defence, the necessary information is before the Court at the first hearing so that issues of proportionality may be dealt with summarily or that appropriate directions for trial may be given.
Action to Take Prior to Issuing Possession Proceedings
In order to comply with the part 3 of the protocol, in cases where the court must grant possession if the landlord proves its case, then before issuing the possession claim social landlords should:
Details to Include Within Your Possession Claim
In cases where the court must grant possession if the landlord proves its case, a social landlord should include in its particulars of claim, or in any witness statement, a schedule giving a summary:-
The amendments came into force on 06 April 2015. From this date, social landlords will be expected to demonstrate that they have complied with this pre-action protocol where it is reasonable to do so.
For further information, please contact Bethany Paliga by email or on 01772 220241.