Insights and Opinions James Wood 18/09/2020

What landlords need to know about enforcing a possession order after the courts reopen

NRLA senior policy officer James Wood writes about what landlords need to know when it comes to enforcing a possession order once the evictions moratorium lifts at the weekend. Remember to register for a webinar with NRLA legal counsel David Smith about possession taking place this Monday. 

When the courts were closed in March this year, it didn’t just prevent landlords from starting new applications for possession orders.  

Bailiffs and high court enforcement officers also stopped enforcing orders that existed prior to coronavirus even if it was for significant arrears or anti-social behaviour.  

As possession typically took six to eight months before the pandemic, a number of landlords will now have been waiting for over a year to regain their property. For these landlords, the end is now in sight.  

With the courts set to reopen on Monday, landlords in England and Wales will once again be able to regain possession when necessary with bailiffs and high court enforcement officers free to enforce possession orders again.  

Once they do reopen though, landlords will need to be aware of some new rules and best practice about the way bailiffs and high court enforcement officers operate. 

How will cases be prioritised? 

As with the reopening of the courts, landlords should temper their expectations about how quickly they might regain possession. With a six month backlog of cases and less than 300 bailiffs operating full time across England and Wales, priority will have to be given to the most serious possession cases. 

To account for this, bailiffs will schedule enforcement based on the priority of need and the order in which the application was made. This will likely mean that cases of serious anti-social behaviour or extreme rent arrears will be heard first followed by outstanding warrants from pre-lockdown. 

Is a reactivation notice required if I have already applied for a bailiff?

Login to your members account to read the answers to other commonly asked questions, including applying to use a HCEO, what happens if a local area goes into lockdown when it comes to enforcement, and more.

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