The Court of Appeal has recently decided on what constitutes sufficient notice of proceedings under Part 83.13 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
CPR 83.13 is the mechanism by which a landlord may apply to the High Court for permission to issue a Writ of Possession after having had the claim transferred from the County Court.
In the above case, the landlord (Gupta), gave notice to their tenant (Partridge) under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 in January 2015. After some wrangling, an order for possession was made in February 2016 and the landlord applied to the High Court for eviction. The landlord wrote to the tenant to inform them that they were applying to transfer the case to the High Court and that they intended to apply to the High Court for a Writ of Possession. The landlord’s application to transfer was granted and, subsequently, their application for a Writ, which was made without notice, was granted by the High Court. The tenant applied to the High Court to have the Writ set aside claiming that they should have received actual notice of the hearing of the landlord’s application for permission for a Writ. The tenant’s application was dismissed but they were given permission to appeal.
During the appeal, the Court paid particular attention to the wording of CPR 83.13(8)(a) and whether the notice given was sufficient to enable the occupant to apply to the Court for any relief to which the occupant may be entitled.
Whilst acknowledging that sufficient notice might vary from case to case, the High Court concluded that, in this instance, the tenant had participated fully in proceedings and was aware that they were required to vacate the property, or at least should have been when their application for permission to appeal the possession order was rejected, and had received written confirmation from the landlord of their intention to make an application under CPR83.13 and therefore had been given sufficient notice. The tenant’s appeal was therefore dismissed.
What this decision is particularly notable for is some helpful guidance on what might constitute sufficient notice:-
- the "notice of the proceedings" does not necessarily require either the service of the formal notice of application for permission or even a more informal intimation by letter or other communication that the application will be heard on a particular day or at a particular time;
- where there is a sole occupant who is the subject of the possession order and they have full knowledge of the possession proceedings, a reminder of the terms of the court order and a request that possession is given up under the order is, generally speaking, sufficient notice;
- In order to ensure that sufficient notice has been given where the sole defendant has played no part in the possession proceedings, a letter or other suitable form of communication should convey all of the following:
(i) the terms of the court order;
(ii)a request that possession is given up under the order; and
(iii) that permission to apply for a writ of possession will be sought from the court in due course if possession is not delivered up and that eviction will follow;
4. Where there are occupants other than the defendant to the possession proceedings known to occupy the property, then a letter addressed to them (if known by name) or to "the occupants" (if the names are not known) is required.