Latest News

Clarity provided for agents in North of England

03 August 2020

On the evening of Thursday 30 July, the UK Government announced a tightening on restrictions for some areas within the North of England in order to protect against the risks to public health arising from Coronavirus. Read More...

Demand from tenants and rental supply highest on record for June

30 July 2020

ARLA Propertymark’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) June report saw the number of new prospective tenants continue to rise, following the Government’s COVID-19 lockdown, with the average branch registering 79 new tenants, compared to 70 on average in May. Read More...

Guidance released for re-opening of housing market in Wales

28 July 2020

Today, 28 July, the Welsh Government has released guidance for the property sector and has updated its amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations in light of the re-opening of the housing market from 27 July. Read More...

Welsh Housing market to re-open fully from Monday 27 July 2020

24 July 2020

Today, 24 July, the Welsh Government confirmed that the housing market will fully reopen on Monday 27 July 2020. Read More...

Welsh Government extend Notice Periods to six months with immediate effect

23 July 2020

Today, 23 July 2020, the Welsh Government has temporarily increased the notice period that landlords must provide from three months to six months to end Assured and Assured Shorthold Tenancies. Read More...

Ten new courts unveiled to tackle evictions proceedings backlog

Thursday 30 July 2020

The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland announced on 19 July 2020 the locations for ten ‘Nightingale Courts’ which have been rapidly set up with the aim of tackling the impact of Coronavirus on the justice system.

On 25 March 2020, the UK Government passed into law the Coronavirus Act which provides additional powers to deal with the Coronavirus outbreak. The Act included the court service being suspended for all ongoing housing possession action in both England and Wales, meaning that neither cases currently in, or any about to go in the system, could progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.

The selected sites, spanning across England and Wales, will host the new courts alongside other work to identify more potential locations. Government believe that the courts will alleviate the pressure of the backlog of tribunals resulting from the pandemic. At this stage, there is no specific information on the type of work the courts will be doing but they could see housing possession cases being heard – Propertymark is continuing to work with MHCLG and the Ministry of Justice to gain further detail.

Plans to regain possession

On 22 July, Christopher Pincher MP announced that the end to the pause on possession proceedings will commence from 23 August. Conscious that the sector is raising significant concerns about a backlog in the Courts, he reminded the House of Commons that prioritising cases is the job of the judiciary, but he believes it is important that serious and antisocial cases are heard in the Courts as soon as possible.

More information

The site in East Pallant House, Chichester, is expected to begin hearing an expanded list of cases next week, with all ten locations up and running in August.

The confirmed sites are:

  • Former county court at Telford, Shropshire
  • Hertfordshire Development Centre, Stevenage
  • Swansea Council Chambers, Swansea
  • Cloth Hall Court, Leeds
  • Middlesbrough Town Hall, Teesside
  • East Pallant House, Chichester
  • 102 Petty France, London
  • Prospero House, London
  • Former magistrates’ court at Fleetwood, Lancashire
  • Knights’ Chamber and Visitor Centre, Bishop’s Palace, Peterborough Cathedral

Quote mark

Our action to keep the justice system running throughout the pandemic has been globally recognised, with these Nightingale Courts being the latest step in this effort.

They will help boost capacity across our courts and tribunals - reducing delays and delivering speedier justice for victims.

But we won’t stop there. Together with the judiciary, courts staff, and legal sector, I am determined that we must pursue every available option to ensure our courts recover as quickly as possible.

The Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland QC MP

Last week, the Lord Chancellor set out further measures that are being considered to help ease pressure on the court system. These included opening courts for longer to increase the number of cases that can be heard safely on any given day and continuing to use video technology to hear cases where appropriate.

A £142 million investment across the court system has been announced to speed up technological improvements and modernise courtrooms.

WHAT PROPERTYMARK IS DOING

ARLA Propertymark wrote to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick on 29 June to express concerns for the management of housing possession cases in England and Wales when the current stay on possessions is lifted on 23 August 2020. In the letter, it was stressed that a robust and co-ordinated strategy must be developed as a matter of urgency.

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