Update – trespasser proceedings
Our article on 1 April gave commentary in relation to the key points for landlords and tenants introduced by the Coronavirus Act 2020. It also drew attention to the new Practice Direction 51Z in court rules which appeared to impose a stay of proceedings not only on regular possession claims, but also upon claims for possession against trespassers (‘squatters’) – something which, in our view, the Coronavirus Act 2020 did not intend.
The Property Litigation Association (PLA) in conjunction with The Property Bar Association (PBA) made appropriate representations to the Master of the Rolls in relation to this anomaly. On the back of that approach (and in light of a seriously urgent matter in which our client found itself the subject of trespass, but was unable to make a claim for possession given the provisions of the Practice Direction) we wrote to the PLA/PBA highlighting the urgent need for amendment. Our representation was forwarded to the Master of the Rolls and yesterday the Practice Direction was amended such that possession proceedings under Civil Procedure Rule Part 55 and subsequent enforcement against ‘Persons Unknown’ – are now, once again, admissible under the court rules.