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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Sunday 30 August 2020


I reported on the extended stay to 20 September 2020 for  possession proceedings and enforcement at https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk Further covid-19 laws on the notice period to be given to tenants (before possession proceedings can be brought against them) came into force yesterday Saturday 29 August 2020. 

The new laws will last until 31 March 2021. For any notice given to a tenant from yesterday and up to 31 March 2021, the period  is doubled from what was the temporary three months to six months. There is a mighty exception. Where the landlord is relying on non-payment of rent and the arrears are for at least six months' worth of rent, the notice period is temporarily shortened to four weeks. There are other exceptions in relation to possession on the ground of anti-social behaviour and in respect of introductory and demoted tenancies.

For chapter and verse, see the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/914).

Monday 24 August 2020


I told you, didn't I? The ban in England and Wales on tenants being evicted and court possession proceedings being pursued was to be lifted as from yesterday. If you were a tenant, you blessed. If you were a landlord, you cursed - as you read https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2020/08/bailiffs-about-to-awake.html

And what have they gone and done? The ban has been extended until 20 September 2020 by the Civil Procedure (Amendment No 5) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020 SI 2020/889. This means that where a possession order has already been made, a tenant cannot generally be evicted before 5 October 2020 (a 14 days notice of the eviction appointment must be given unless the court shortens the notice period). And it means that the hearings of cases where no order has yet been made are unlikely to take place before around 28 October 2020.

The notice by the landlord requiring the tenant to vacate is being extended from the temporary three months to a temporary six months but more on this shortly when the necessary legislation has been published.

But the ban on bailiffs and High Court enforcement agents seizing goods where a judgment has gone unsatisfied is over.

Friday 21 August 2020


Changes to face covering legal requirements in England come into force tomorrow Saturday 22 August 2020. Feast of the details at -https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/882/pdfs/uksiem_20200882_en.pdf

Monday 17 August 2020

Bailiffs About to Awake

County Court bailiffs and High Court enforcement agents in England and Wales awake from their slumber next Monday 24 August 2020. They have been paralysed - thanks to coronavirus legislation and court directions - from seizing goods from debtors' homes where money is due under a court judgment and from evicting tenants and mortgage borrowers under court possession orders. Landlords and mortgage lenders have also been paralysed from pressing ahead with possession cases where no order has yet been obtained.  This paralysis end on 24 August 2020.

But various procedural hoops must first be gone through. Bailiffs and enforcement agents after seizure of goods are required to give the debtor at least seven days' prior notice of their intention to visit - unless, that is, the  court has waived or reduced the period of the notice on the basis that the debtor might otherwise take their goods to the other end of the world.

Where a possession order has already been made, the bailiff or enforcement agent is to give at least 14 days' proper written notice by way of a new form of the date and time on which they will be calling to evict. In some tenancy cases - it depends on the type of tenancy and the basis on which the possession oder was obtained - the tenant may be able to apply to the court for the bailiff or enforcement agent to be kept out by a suspension of their authority so long as the arrears are cleared at a specified rate on top of the rent being paid as and when it falls due. The likelihood is that the court will only have power to suspend where it is a social tenancy- council or housing association - and possession has not been order on a mandatory ground which prevents the court from granting longer than 42 days from the court order for the tenant to go. The court has much wider powers to suspend in mortgage possession cases.

And where a possession case was already started but then paralysed, the landlord or mortgage lender will have to send the court a reactivation notice so as to obtain a hearing date for the case. The court will generally give at least 21 days' notice of the hearing date.

In tenancy cases where the landlord has given notice to the tenant requiring possession, the period of any notice given or or after 26 March 2020 (and up to 30 September 2020)  was temporarily extended to three months (anything from 14 days or two months before). If short notice has been given the landlord should serve a fresh notice (after 30 September 2020 it can be for the 'old' period  which applied unless there is further legislation on the point). 

Friday 7 August 2020


Changes are being made to the list of exempt countries and territories from which passengers arriving in England are not required to self-isolate on arrival. The instrument removes Andorra, the Bahamas and Belgium from that list and adds Brunei and Malaysia. For more, have a look at


From tomorrow 08 August 2020 the wearing of face coverings is extended in England to indoor places of worship, crematoria and burial ground chapels, museums, galleries, cinemas, public libraries, public spaces in hotels (such as lobby areas) and community centres. For the whole 
story, have a look at