Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Flexible Tenancies: LATEST

For the story so far, see https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/2021/01/flexible-tenancies-landlords-in-trouble.html  The Supreme Court has just granted the local authority permission to appeal to it against the decision of the Court of Appeal. 

Now for the wait.

Friday, 26 March 2021

CHILD DISPUTES: How to get £500 voucher towards mediation costs: England and Wales

A pilot scheme has just been announced by the Ministry of Justice in the hope of keeping you out of court on a dispute over the welfare of your child. Before starting court proceedings, you must generally participate in a mediation information and assessment meeting. They call it a MIAM so that nobody knows what is being talked about.That meeting might move on to you and the other parent going through mediation. It isn't compulsory but it's worth looking at. Trouble is that the mediator wants to be paid for trying to get you to reach an agreement at mediation. The government will now give you up to £500 towards the cost of the mediation which could follow the MIAM. A voucher for that contribution will be obtained by the mediator. 

But hurry if you can't agree on your child's school, where they should live, whether they should keep to a vegan diet and never drink a coke and if they should never be shown a copy of Breaking Law. Only £1m has been set aside to finance the scheme and that could run out fast though there is always the prospect of the scheme being extended if it is a success.

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

COVID-19: COMPANIES 0FF HOOK FOR LONGER:LATEST

In legislation laid before Parliament today 24 March 2021 - alright, you win: it's called the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (Coronavirus) (Extension of the Relevant Period) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/375 - there is further respite for companies. The restrictions on serving statutory demands on and issuing winding up petitions against them which was due to have ended on 31 March 2021 has been extended by three months until 30 June 2021. Additionally, the temporary assumption that directors are not liable for 'wrongful trading' by carrying on with the company's business while its financial position may worsen which was due to come to an end on 30 April 2021 has been extended to 30 June 2021.

Monday, 22 March 2021

COVID-19: RESPITE FOR TENANTS: LATEST

That extended ban on evictions and the delivery of notices of eviction of residential tenants in England on which I reported to you at  https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk has arrived. And to prove it, as they say, it's 'ere! It will continue until 31 May 2021 and for that, tenants may bless and landlords may curse, the Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) (No 2) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/362) laid before Parliament today 22 March 2021. As before, there are exceptions. These are that the possession order was against unknown trespassers, or has been made wholly or partly on the grounds of anti-social behaviour, nuisance, domestic abuse in social tenancies, false statements, substantial rent arrears exceeding six months' worth or where the occupier has died.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

RESPITE FOR TENANTS REVISITED

Here's an update on https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk

Residential tenants In England, the temporary six month notice period for tenants before possession proceedings can be brought, has been extended to 31 May 2021 and the ban on evictions and the delivery of eviction notices which was last extended to 31 March 2021 is being further extended to 31 May 2021 but the necessary legislation for that is awaited. In Wales, the ban on evictions and delivery of eviction notices has been extended until 30 June 2021 (although will be subject to earlier review) under regulations laid today 17 March 2021 by SI 2021/325. There are exceptions: the occupiers are unknown trespassers; the possession order was made on the grounds of domestic violence, serious offences, anti-social behaviour or nuisance; or the property is unoccupied and the order was made wholly or partly on the grounds of the occupier's death. 

Business premises In England and Wales, the ban on lease forfeiture or re-entry into the premises for non-payment of rent has been extended to 30 June 2021. In order to justify giving notice of enforcement and sending in an enforcement agent to seize goods on business premises under the commercial rent recovery scheme, the amount of rent in arrears (which was originally seven days' worth) has been re-increased on a temporary basis : generally, 457 days' worth as from 25 March 2921 and 554 days' worth on or after 23 June 2021.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Coronavirus-19: RESPITE FOR TENANTS

The government has this afternoon laid before Parliament regulations (see SI 2021/284) which extend the duration of the emergency legislation requiring residential landlords in England to give longer notice periods to their tenants before they can bring court possession proceedings against them.  This legislation will now run for an additional two months, expiring on 31 May 2021. The notice period required is at least six months. The most notable exception is where rent is at least six months in arrears and then a reduced four-weeks' notice will be needed. The notice periods which applied before the pandemic for cases of anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse and fraud still stand. There are special provisions for introductory and demoted tenancies.

Separate regulations have been made in relation to business tenancies in England (SI 2021/283). Landlords will be prevented from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent for an extended period which will now expire on 30 June 2021. Similar regulations have been made for business premises in Wales (SI 2021/253).  

Monday, 8 March 2021

Court Fees: Sue Early

Making a civil money or possession claim online rather than in the traditional paper way through a court office saves bucks even though it may corrupt your eyesight by over-exposure to a computer screen. These online discounts were introduced to lure in the punters like you and have been stunningly successful. 

It's all changing. The government has announced today following consultation that, apart from a single exception, the online fees are to be aligned with the paper jobs. You will pay the same on line as you will offline when you commence the case. That single exception relates to a request for the bailiff to go in through a warrant of control where the same but new fee will be payable on and offline at £83. 

The new fees will come into force during May 2021, subject to legislation. If they don't come in, I will be eating another of my hats, washed down with some computer screen fluid.  To take advantage of the lower fees, get a move on. 

Flexible Tenancies: Latest

In the highly impacting flexible tenancy case of Croydon LB Council v Kalonga, the local authority is to seek permission from the Supreme Court to appeal against its defeat in the Court of Appeal. Watch this space.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Whiplash Reform: Revisited

Phew! We've got the rules now which were laid before Parliament today. See Civil Procedure (Amendment No 2) Rules 2021 (SI 2010/196). More to come. 

Whiplash Reform: At last!

The controversial road traffic whiplash injury reforms under the Civil Liability Act 2018 will come into force on 31 May 2021 as a result of regulations (Civil Liability Act 2018 (Commencement No 1 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/195)  made on 23 February 2021. They will only apply to accidents occuring on or after that date. More regulations, procedural rules and a Practice Direction are awaited. 

Friday, 19 February 2021

Legal Aid: Financial Eligibility Rules Eased

The Legal Aid scheme for a civil as opposed to a criminal case is still there but it has shrunk to the size of my pen top. You will know if it is available for your case because you will have applied and been turned down on the ground that you had too much money even though you did not realise you were so well off. You might be able to apply again thanks to changes in the financial eligibility rules which have recently come into force.

If you owed more than £100,000 on your mortgage, the excess over that figure was ignored. No more. The whole mortgage debt will now be reckoned. And certain one-off payments made to you will be disregarded when it comes to assessing the amount of your capital. These  are compensation payments from some certain UK government and UK charitable schemes that support victims of state error and serious incidents. Infected blood support and criminal injuries compensation are among them. 

Good luck.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Flexible Tenancies: Landlords in Trouble

Between 2014 and 2018 an estimated 30,000 flexible tenancies were granted by local authorities. If a flexible tenancy has been granted to you, your landlord may well be frustrated in any attempt to get you out before the fixed term of the tenancy has come to an end. A judgment of the Court of Appeal in a case called Croydon London Borough Council v Kalongola [2021] EWCA Civ 77 has made it clear that without a so-called forfeiture clause in your tenancy agreement - you should check with a professional on whether you've got one - the landlord cannot bring the tenancy to an early end. And, even if there is a forfeiture clause in the agreement, there are certain technical steps the landlord would need to take before it could secure a court order for possession against you.

Croydon has been refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. It might seek permission from the Supreme Courts itself. We shall see.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

COVID-19: REPRIEVE FOR TENANTS

The majority of residential tenants due to be evicted from their homes have been granted a further reprieve in England until 21 February 2021. The reprieve is in the same terms, except for one important exception, as the last one: see  https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/COVID-19   The exception is that evictions can go ahead where the tenant owed at least nine months' worth of rent which had been run up before 23 March 2020. That has now been reduced to at least six months' worth of rent. Tenants should give thanks to and landlords should curse The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/15) which, unlike its predecessor, does not halt bailiffs' seizure of goods. Despite the reprieve, which also protects mortgage borrowers, possession proceedings may still be brought and possession orders may still be made by the court, although not enforced by a bailiff or High Court enforcement agent where the regulations apply.

For Wales, a similar, but not identical, reprieve has been granted by The Public Health (Protection from Eviction) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/12) and, just to be different, they have placed the name of the dreaded virus in a different place to England. The Wales regulations prevent evictions for a longer period until 31 March 2021 but must be reviewed earlier and so could be brought to an end earlier. They do not make an exception for cases where the arrears had reached six or nine months. 

Some crumbs for business tenants too. The paralysis on landlords being able to forfeit their leases or go into their premises to take them over where there are rent arrears has been extended from 31 December 2020 to 31 March 2021,  in England by SI 2020/1472 and in Wales by SI 2020/1456.