Courts want Landlords to submit a Reactivation Form for Possession Order Cases that have been stayed due to Covid19 but require Landlords to ‘set out what knowledge the Landlord has as to the effect of Covid19 on the Defendant and their dependants’. In my case the rent arrears is now over 12 months much of which was accrued pre lockdown. The requirement assumes there is a relationship between Landlord and tenant sufficient to get the information for the Courts. I suspect in the majority of cases there is no relationship at all because this is an eviction. I use an agent and the tenant has not cooperated with requests for inspections and has ignored all attempts to communicate with her about rent arrears which are now very serious. How am I or any other Landlord supposed to get personal information about the tenants health and financial position during lockdown?
Hi David, why do you think you need to get personal information from tenants?
The notice must set out what knowledge the claimant has as to the effect coronavirus has had on the tenant and their dependants.
If you have no knowledge, then you can simply say so. I don’t believe there is any requirement for you to find more out more than you currently know. If you felt your case could be helped by learning more, you are free to do so. But my understanding is that landlords not required to find out more, but merely to state their current understanding.
It would be in your favour to state the problems of arrears, being obstructive
for inspections etc happened way before lockdown so it’s not relevant.
Obviously it’s the courts way of triaging the cases so best to deny Covid has had any affect on them if you can do so.
Clearly I can simply say that I have no knowledge of the impact of Covid on my tenant. But 12 CP Barristers state…‘this will require making or attempting to make enquiries of the tenant and the impact the pandemic has actually had on them - this could include relevant financial information including whether they are or remain employed, or are furloughed or otherwise, information as to health, especially mental health, and support currently being received from any third party sources’.
I think this is too onerous and in fact ridiculous and I wonder if the courts would be interested to hear about my mental and physical health and the financial effect of no rent to offset more than 12 months of mortgage payments on my property.
Thank you for your comments. I agree where arrears of 6 months or more were accrued pre lockdown then Covid impact is irrelevant. However, I worry that if Landlords simply state that they have no knowledge of Covid impact on their tenants that the Courts will take a dim view of this and expect Landlords to do more to find out the tenant’s circumstances.
I have just read the new Coronavirus rules on The Guild of Residential Landlords site.
It said if there are rent arrears of more than six months then a four week notice period can be given. Has anyone else knowledge of this? Sam, are you there?!
It also said about the section you mention as to how the virus has affected tenants so it’s best to fill it in with something relevant, even if repeating that you do believe they were affected as arrears were pre-Covid.
I think we agree having perfect knowledge and sharing it is the best position to be in, but it will often not be possible, and there doesn’t look to be any formal requirement for landlords to make enquiries/investigations in order to gain more knowledge.
To be clear, here is the Government’s own draft reactivation notice. Notice how it says “if you have no knowledge you could could consider taking reasonable steps”.
Courts have been told to take changes in the tenants’ circumstances due to the pandemic into account, so having no knowledge of their circumstances leaves your possession claim relatively weak. But there is no requirement to find out more information than you already have if just trying to successfully reactivate your claim.