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Reactivation Notice: Pursuant to Practice Direction 55C

10 November 2020

Landlords wishing to proceed with possession action issued before 20 September 2020 and which was stayed automatically by CPR55.29 must file and serve a written notice (a “reactivation notice”) confirming that they wish the case to be listed, relisted, heard or referred.

Introduction

PD55C sets out the information the court will require when considering a request to reactivate a stayed and this guide may be used as a checklist to assist with preparing the reactivation notice an example of which is also provided. Once received, the Court should schedule a Review Hearing, further details of which are set out in our guide – it takes two to make a thing go right.

The content includes:

Case details

The reactivation notice must provide, in accordance with para 2.3(a):

  • details of the Parties, Claim Number and Court
  • a statement confirming you wish the case to be:

a) listed;

b) re-listed;

c) heard, or

d) referred to a Judge (Accelerated Procedure for Assured shorthold – S21 Claims)

Rent arrears

Where a claim for possession is based on rent arrears, the reactivation notice must, in accordance with para 2.4:

  • Include an up-to-date rent statement for the last 2 years

Case Management

Where in a stayed claim the court made an order for directions before 20 September 2020 para 5.1 states the reactivation notice must:

  • Include a copy of last Order for directions;
  • Include a statement whether further directions are needed or not:

a) If yes, the further directions are required in a draft order

b) If no, include a statement that existing dates can be met

Note - an existing hearing date can only be after 1 November 2020 (42 days from the PD coming into force and assuming the reactivation notice is served on 20 September 2020)

  • Include a statement whether the case can be heard by audio or video link.

Impact of Coronavirus on the Defendant

Paragraph 2.3(b) states that the reactivation notice must set out what knowledge the landlord has of the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on the Defendant and their dependants.

Landlords should review their records and contact the Defendant in advance of the reactivation notice to obtain as much information as possible about the effect of 
the Coronavirus on them and their household. Contact may be by home visit, telephone, electronic communication or letter. The Defendant may not wish to provide information 
for data protection reasons or to avoid the claim being listed, relisted, heard or referred and therefore landlords should retain all records of (attempted) contact to obtain information as it might be necessary to rely on the attempted contact at court.

Landlords should therefore investigate and record the following:

  • the composition of the Defendant’s household, including:

a) Number of adults and children

b)     Relationship to the Defendant

c)     Age of the occupiers

d)     Any disability or vulnerability issues 

  • What steps have you taken to contact the Defendant?
  • What knowledge you have about the effect of the Coronavirus on the Defendant, including:

a)     Financial effect (employment status, loss of earnings, entitlement to benefits etc) 

b)     Health (physical or mental)

  • What information you have about the change of circumstances or impact of Coronavirus on any dependants?

a)     Financial effect on those that might contribute to household income;

b)     Health (physical or mental)

c)     Death of relatives/dependants

Prioritisation

The reactivation notice allows the serving party to indicate to the Court why the claim ought to be re-listed as a priority. This is a simple tick box exercise and the Court will consider the following cases (in no particular order) to be a priority; 

  • Cases with allegations of anti-social behaviour, including Ground 7A in Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1988 and section 84A to the Housing Act 1985.
  • Cases with extreme rent arrears equal to at least:

a)     12 months’ rent; or

b) 9 months’ rent where that amounts to

  • Cases involving squatters, illegal occupiers or persons unknown.
  • Where domestic violence means possession of  the property is important.
  • Cases involving allegations of fraud or deception.
  • Cases with allegations of unlawful subletting.
  • Cases with allegations of abandonment of the property, non-occupation or death of the tenant.
  • Cases concerning property that was allocated by an authority as ‘temporary accommodation’ and is specifically needed by the authority for reallocation as ‘temporary accommodation

Service of the reactivation notice

Once complete, the reactivation notice must be filed dat court and served on the Defendant. 
Landlords should:

  • Complete a Certificate of Service to prove service on the Defendant.

Covid-19 'case marking' scheme

This allows the parties to alert the Court that the case has been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. The request to ‘mark’ the case can be made at any stage. 

This may in theory make it harder to obtain possession in some cases depending on the circumstances.

A Defendant wishing to mark a case must explain the following to the Court:

  • Details of the hardship they face;
  • If there were any significant arrears prior to March 2020;
  • If they have been on furlough or been paid or offered a related proportion of rent or borrowing arrears;
  • If they have been receiving Universal Credit since March 2020;
  • If they have been unable to earn because of the Coronavirus Pandemic;
  • If they are and/or have been shielding;
  • If they have any proposals to pay the arrears.A Claimant wishing to mark their case must explain the following to the Court: 
  • Details of the hardship they face;
  • If they have received any Covid related financial assistance.
 
 

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