We reported here that on 27 March 2020 all residential possession action had been stayed for 90 days. That stay was imposed by Practice Direction 51Z: Stay of Possession Proceedings, Coronavirus.

Since the introduction of PD51Z back in March it has been:

  1.  amended (see our note here) to allow possession action to proceed against persons unknown who are trespassers; and
  2. the subject of a Court of Appeal decision in the case of Arkin v Marshall  & Others [2020] EWCA Civ 620  (see the judgment here) where the Court of Appeal refused to lift the stay in that case and found that the stay could only be lifted in the “most exceptional circumstances".

On 5 June 2020 the Housing Secretary announced that the stay on possession action would be extended 'for another 2 months'. The extension will come into force on 25 June 2020, to ensure that there is no break in the existing stay, and will apply  to the end of August 2020.  

The stay does not prevent landlords from serving notice on their tenant to recover possession, although the notice periods have been extended to 3 months, on which we reported here and does not prevent landlords from issuing proceedings.  The claim will be issued and stayed, preserving any notice that might otherwise expire.

In the meantime, a working group has been established by the Master of the Rolls to prepare the courts for the lifting of the stay.