The use of large up-front fees and disproportionate deposits has already resulted in significant cost consequences for one care provider.
The recent case of Cardiff CC -v- Lee (see our ebriefing here) has left landlords needing to apply to the Court for permission to issue a warrant of possession where an SPO has been breached.
This has caused great difficulties for landlords nationally; due to the uncertainty left by the case, there are differing approaches taken by courts across the country with some requiring simply a formal N244 application notice and others demanding a witness statement and a draft order. It also meant an increase in court costs as a £100 issue fee for each application was necessary.
Today (20/12/2016) we are pleased to confirm the release of a new court form following emails with the Civil Procedure Rules Committee and, no doubt, the national feedback. Form 325A request for a warrant of possession of land following an SPO – has been released as a “work around” and can be used from 20th December 2016.
Form N325A allows for a schedule of payments due and made to be attached to the warrant request. The N325A and the schedule will then be referred to a judge for consideration and for permission to issue the Warrant to be either granted or refused. This means that a separate N244 application is not necessary, nor is a witness statement in support. No separate application notice fee is payable either which means a substantial cost saving.
This procedure will now be followed in all county courts alleviating the uncertainty for landlords.
The new form is available from the Court Service website and can be found by clicking here.
What is still unclear is the approach to be when enforcing SPOs based on ASB where there has been a breach. The new form 325A refers solely to a payment schedule and doesn’t allow for ASB orders. Further clarification is being sought on this point at present. In the meantime, landlords should carefully follow any procedure set out in the ASB SPO for the issue of a Warrant following breaches.
The Civil Procedure Rules Committee will be consulting in the new year regarding a formal amendment to the court rules following the Cardiff case so watch this space for further proposed amendments in the near future and respond to the consultations!
For more information
Please contact Alex Loxton or any member of the Housing Litigation team on 0121 212 7400.
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