A common challenge for landlords in possession claims is that court rules say that directions must be made if a possession claim appears to be disputed on grounds that appear to be substantial.
There has been a new county court decision on this that I have discussed in more detail within my recent ebriefing, Defended possession claims and directions at first hearings.
His Honour Judge Jan Luba QC has clarified that the threshold for this is relatively low. Landlords can expect this to be referred to by duty advisors at first possession hearings.
On a recent appeal, His Honour Judge Jan Luba QC has clarified expectations on the court rules for first possession hearings that are defended. The court rules (CPR 55.8(3)) state that "Where the claim is genuinely disputed on grounds which appear to be substantial, case management directions given under paragraph (1)(b) will include the allocation of the claim to a track or directions to enable it to be allocated." In the case of Global 100 Ltd v Kyselakova & Ors, despite a defendant (who was a property guardian) having raised a defence on three grounds, a county court judge summarily dealt with the claim and made a possession order. The defendant appealed. On appeal the order was overturned and sent back for directions to be made and for the defended claim to be allowed to run its course...