The latest update to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) makes some important changes to Practice Direction 55C (PD55C) which affects how landlords deal with cases from 1 December 2021. In this article we’re going to look at what these changes are and how registered providers (RPs) should deal with new and ongoing possession cases.

The background

Our previous insight discussed the announcement that the “Overall Arrangements for Possession Proceedings” came to an end on 1 November 2021 and what this might mean for social housing providers with both new and existing cases.

One of the key points examined was the apparent inconsistency between the announcement and PD55C, which provides for temporary modification of the court rules relating to possession claims until 30 November 2021.Thankfully, the most recent update to the CPR provides some much needed clarification for RPs.

How the law has changed

PD 55C was due to expire on 30 November 2021 but this latest amendment now makes clear that:

  1. The entirety of PD55C will remain in full force for all claims issued before 1 December 2021
  2. For all cases, the requirement for landlords to provide notices about their knowledge of the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the defendant and (where relevant) as to their compliance with the pre-action protocol for possession claims by social landlords will continue until 30 June 2022.

What this means for registered providers

Possession work can now be neatly split into two categories: (a) cases issued up to and including 30 November 2021; and (b) cases issued from 1 December 2021.

Cases issued up to and including 30 November 2021

Unfortunately you’ll need to comply with the entirety of PD55C, including providing the notices that are required for cases issued from 1 December 2021.

Cases issued from 1 December 2021

Things are pretty much back to normal although you’ll still need to provide a notice setting out what knowledge you have as to the effect of the pandemic on the tenant and their household. If it’s relevant to your case you’ll also need to provide a notice as to your compliance with the pre-action protocol for possession claims by social landlords.

The next steps for landlords

By waiting until 1 December to issue a possession case you can avoid the additional time and expense of complying with all of the extra requirements of PD55C. From then, you’ll only need to provide the notices.

Luckily for landlords, the notices are not an especially onerous requirement and we would not be surprised if this becomes a permanent change to the CPR.

How Capsticks can help

The housing management team at Capsticks will continue to update you of any important changes in the law. We’re perfectly placed to continue to help you deal with cases swiftly and are in regular contact with local courts to stay abreast of the latest trends and practices.

As a firm, our values reflect your priorities—we care about what we do and aim to make a positive difference in people’s lives. If you have any queries around what's discussed in this article, and the impact on your organisation, please speak to Steven Wood or Michael Owen to find out more about how Capsticks can help.