On 30 March 2020, we reported (see here) that practice direction 51Z had stayed all proceedings for possession brought under CPR Part 55 for at least 90 days.

We noted that the amendment to the CPR, which was clearly intended to protect residential tenants from eviction during the pandemic, applied to all claims under Part 55 and therefore included claims against persons unknown occupying land or property as trespassers.

Roll forward a couple of weeks and the Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chancellor have amended practice direction 51Z to insert a new paragraph 2A to make clear that the 90 day stay on all possession claims does not apply to:

  1. claims against trespassers under rule 55.6 or
  2. applications for interim possession orders against trespassers

The latest update also makes clear that the stay imposed on possession claims against residential tenants does not preclude landlords from issuing such claims or agreeing case managment directions.

With large swathes of commercial property sitting empty during lock down, land owners, landlords and tenants will be relieved that they can still recover possession of their property should unlawful occupiers gain access to the same and our guide to dealing with trespassers can be seen here.