Monday, 16 November 2020

COVID-19: EVICTIONS & BAILIFFS HALTED AGAIN: ENGLAND

Regulations made today and coming into force tomorrow 17 November 2020 will save the majority of residential occupiers in England from eviction and seizure of their goods for the time being. The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1290) stop evictions up to 11 January 2021. They also stop bailiffs and enforcement agents seizing goods inside residential premises (but not outside or on the road and not from business premises) until the end of the current national lockdown on 02 December 2020. Possession proceedings which are pending and new possession cases can still continue.

There are exceptions to the paralysis on evictions (which extends to even delivering tenants with a notice of eviction proclaiming when the bailiff or enforcement against will be calling and so this effectively amounts to a ban on fixing eviction appointments).   The main exception is where the possession order was made on the ground of rent arrears amounting to the equivalent of nine months but any arrears which have clocked up since 23 March 2020 will be disregarded for this purpose. Other exceptions include evictions where the possession order has been made in relation to social tenancies on the grounds of anti-social behaviour, nuisance, false statements to obtain the tenancy or domestic abuse and orders made against trespassers whose identities have not been established.  





Friday, 13 November 2020

FINANCIAL REMEDIES: IMPACT OF COVID & BREXIT ON COMPANY VALUE

The High Court in London has just ruled in a matrimonial financial remedies case * how the twin horrors of the pandemic and Brexit should be reflected in the value of a company which figured highly in the assets to be divided up between husband and wife. 

In focus was a company providing ducting to a wide range of customers in construction and other industries. A significant proportion of trading business was in the EU and, if there was 'no deal', the free trade tariff on which the company operated would end. The company had already experienced a significant decrease in demand. 

It was agreed that the court should take into account both the pandemic and Brexit in deciding what the company was worth. By how much should the value  be discounted? The wife argued for a discount of 10% not only to the trading value of  the company but to the company's surplus assets of cash and quoted investments. The judge ruled that it was right to knock off 10% but only on the trading value. There was no logic in applying any discount to the pile of cash and investments, he said. There was no evidence that they had suffered a decrease in value.

* OG vAG [2020] EWFC 52

MOBILE HOME OCCUPIERS IN ENGLAND:HELP IS ON ITS WAY!

 If, as is highly possible. your mobile home site owner is giving you grief, you may now be able to do something about exterminating them other than strangulation - and please, please, don't resort to that. 

New laws* will prohibit the use of land as a residential mobile home site unless the local authority is satisfied that the site manager is a fit and proper person. Authorities will have until 1 July 2021 to establish a fit and proper register and applications to go onto that register will have to be submitted during the following three months.  From 1 October 2021, it will be an offence for the site to be used without a registered manager. Should there be a second conviction for this offence then the licence to use the site as a mobile home site can be revoked. This should all act as a deterrent to the owner and their staff from any unreasonable conduct towards occupiers. Just mention it in the sweetest of tones when they next throw a brick through your window.

So where do you come in? Start now in giving the local authority details of your legitimate complaints. Then they can take those into account next year in deciding whether the hateful swine who has been making your life a misery for so long is a saint or a sinner.

* The Mobile Homes (Requirement for Manager of Site to be a Fit and Proper Person) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020/1034

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

LOCKDOWN IN ENGLAND: WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE KNOWN

The lockdown in England due to start this Thursday 05 November 2020 will be governed by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No 4) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1200) which were laid before Parliament at 4.10 pm this afternoon and, unless I am a banana, will be approved in Parliament tomorrow. Just 32 pages! Here are a few things you may not have realised you will be able to do.

  • There are many specified reasons for leaving your home which  amount to a reasonable excuse and so will be okay. But you may have some other excuse for going out which is not specified. If it is reasonable, you will still be okay.
  • Going out for the purpose of visiting a waste disposal or recycling centre is classified as a reasonable excuse. We had better call that the rubbish excuse.
  • Attending an event commemorating Remembrance Sunday will also be a reasonable excuse.
  • For the purpose of one to one exercise or recreation gatherings outside- that is between a member of a household and one other person  who is not a member- the other person is not reckoned if a child under five. This means, for example, that one household member could meet up with one other adult and a four year old child. 
  • It is a reasonable excuse to leave home for the purpose of any training and not just education.
  • Leaving home for medical assistance is permitted as a reasonable excuse and that assistance can be from or by way of 'dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health.'
  • The child care bubble enables a person to provide informal child care for children in another household who are under 13. All the adult members of both households must agree.There cannot be a similar arrangement between two other households. This is an exception which will enable grandparents to continue to act as slaves to one set of grandchildren but it is not limited to grandparents and, on my interpretation of the regulations, the child care care may by more than one person from the second household. However, it must be reasonably necessary for this child care to be provided. If , for example, two children live with parents who are stuck at home and not working there and have two live in nannies and a governess, it would be difficult to sell the idea to the police that the informal arrangements were reasonably necessary.   
Stay safe.