The MOJ has provided an update to High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) regarding enforcement of High Court Writs of Possession during the Coronavirus pandemic. This follows last week’s announcement by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) of protections to renters in social and private accommodation.
The MCHLG are taking steps to ban evictions for renters in the housing sector for a limited time period. MHCLG – Press notice
Emergency legislation will be taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a 3-month period. The Government is also looking at other measures to ensure that no renter, in either social or private accommodation, will be forced out of their home during this difficult time. In the meantime, HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) has instructed county court bailiffs with the following instruction:
- Bailiffs should stop making any new eviction appointments
- Bailiff Managers should review all upcoming evictions and use their judgement and discretion to decide whether the eviction should proceed, taking the current coronavirus public health guidance into account. To assist in making their decision the bailiff manager/bailiff should contact the claimant to confirm whether they still want the eviction to proceed e.g. with social housing cases they should contact the housing agency to ascertain their policy in respect of evictions.
- Some evictions should continue, for example where the bailiff knows that the property has already been vacated by the tenants.
Court Enforcement Services, High Court Enforcement Officers will follow the above guidelines, in relation to High Court writs of possession in respect of social or private residential accommodation.