The Lord Chancellor has issued guidance to the High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA) relating to the enforcement of writs of control and writs of possession during the national lockdown in England that started on 5th November 2020.

Writs of control

He says that enforcement visits may continue during the national lockdown, provided that enforcement agents continue to adhere to the Covid-secure guidance and that they do not enter residential properties during this period.

This is the same guidance that was issued for enforcement visits during tier 2 and tier 3 local lockdowns.

Enforcement visits to commercial premises are unchanged and the enforcement agent may enter the premises.

Writs of possession

During the national lockdown, enforcement agents are not to attend residential premises to serve notice of eviction or to enforce a writ of possession. This is to protect both public health and struggling households in the private and social rented sector.

There are a number of exceptions where evictions at residential premises can take part. These are in the following circumstances:

  • Illegal trespass or squatting by persons unknown (all types of premises and land)
  • Nuisance or antisocial behaviour
  • Domestic abuse
  • Fraud or deception
  • Unoccupied properties following the death of the defendant

Extreme levels of rent arrears

The Lord Chancellor also intends to allow evictions where there are “extreme” levels of pre-Covid rent arrears. We will give you the details of how this will work once they have been finalised and published.

Our recommendations

As the courts will remain open during the national lockdown, we recommend that you continue to apply for judgment and instruct us to transfer up the writ, so that enforcement can proceed in a timely manner.

If you require possession due to occupation by persons unknown, whether in property or on land, or your order for possession meets the above exempt circumstances for residential evictions, we can start the process as soon as we receive your instruction.

If you need any further information, please contact our Client Services team on 0333 001 5100 or by email.

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