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This week we report on changes to eviction procedures and a request for the Government to provide a "Property Bounceback Grant", together with Insight from our colleagues around the firm and the usual positive news.

The end to 'no notice evictions'

The amendment to Part 83 of the Civil Procedure Rules, brought in by The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 3) Rules 2020, has effectively brought an end to 'no notice evictions'.

The new Part 83.8(A) requires all notices of eviction (writs or warrants of possession) to be delivered to the premises not less than 14 days before the writ or warrant is executed. In doing so, the notice of eviction must be:

  1. inserted through the letter box in a sealed transparent envelope; or
  2. if the above is not practicable, attached to the main door or some other part of the land or placing stakes in the land where it is clearly visible.

There are some exceptions to the 'no notice' rule, which include the following:

  1. the court may dispense with the requirement to deliver a notice of eviction or extend or shorten the deadline for delivery;
  2. the new Part 83.8(A) does not apply to enforcing possession orders against trespassers (except that it does apply for possession orders against persons who entered or remained on the premises with consent).

Unless an exception applies, property owners seeking an eviction will therefore need to factor in this additional time period and ensure sufficient notice is given in strict compliance with the new provisions.

 Property Bounceback Grant

The British Property Federation and the British Retail Consortium, together with other trade bodies, have called for the Government to introduce a 'Property Bounceback Grant' to support landlords and tenants affected by the Coronavirus.

The group notes the looming rent crisis in the property industry in particular in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The Coronavirus has significantly impacted the revenue of tenants resulting in a substantial proportion of rents going unpaid with the knock on effect hitting landlords' revenues. The group calls for urgent action to address the problem to avoid mass business closures, lost jobs and devastated high streets.

The group has called for a Government backed 'Property Bounceback Grant', which would see the Government step in and provide financial assistance to support tenants and landlords to seek to avoid an even greater rent crisis. The features of the proposed Property Bounceback Grant are:

  1. Government grants of up to 50% of rent and service charges between March and September 2020;
  2. Grants conditional on agreement by the landlord and tenant to account for the remaining 50% through the Government's Code of Practice;
  3. Businesses in hospitality, leisure and retail sector will be eligible for the grant – as those impacted most by the crisis; and
  4. The focus to be on businesses that were closed for the longest and unable to generate revenue.

Analysis commissioned by the trade bodies, suggests that if the Government were to provide support to cover 50% of the unpaid rents across the retail, hospitality and leisure sector for six months, it would cost £1.75bn. This would, however, return over £7bn to the Treasury in terms of revenue from increased economic activity and would save an estimated 375,000 jobs. If the Government were to increase support to cover businesses which have already reached rent payment agreements with their landlords, it would cost £4.7bn but would return over £11bn to the UK economy and save over 630,000 jobs.

Insight from around the firm

Positive news stories

  •  Beavers in the River Otter -15 families of beavers have been granted the legal right to remain on the River Otter in Devon after a study revealed they had made a positive contribution to the local environment. This is England's first and only wild beaver reintroduction and monitoring project, hailed as one of the most important moments in England's conservation history.
  • Renewables - BP has announced that it will increase investment in renewables tenfold to around £3.8bn annually by 2030. This has caused its share price to increase despite publishing quarterly losses of £12.8bn.
  • A Greener Manchester - The UK Government has announced that it will be investing £23m into the creation of a major new 6.5 acre park in Manchester city centre to provide new green space and bring back life to an underused part of the city.