From 27 March 2020, for a period of 90 days, all possession proceedings brought under Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules for a possession order and all proceedings seeking to enforce a possession order have been stayed.
However, clarification has now been provided by the Ministry of Justice that this stay does not apply to a possession claim against trespassers issued under Part 55.6 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
A possession claim against a trespasser is defined as “a claim for the recovery of land which the claimant alleges is occupied only by a person or persons who entered or remained on the land without the consent of a person entitled to possession of that land but does not include a claim against a tenant or sub-tenant whether his tenancy has been terminated or not”.
What this means is that a tenant whose tenancy has been terminated by service of the requisite notice seeking possession and who remains in occupation after the notice has expired is not classed as a trespasser. As such any possession proceedings will be caught by the stay.
However, if a person enters into occupation who has never had the consent of the legal owner i.e. a squatter, then possession proceedings can still be brought and will not be caught by the stay. This would apply to both residential and commercial property.
In addition, the information provided by the Ministry of Justice has clarified that the stay does not prevent a person from issuing possession proceedings, it simply stays the claim.
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