Daniel Richardson, Property Receiver and Insolvency Practitioner, CG&Co

INNUMERABLE words have already been written describing what the “new normal” will look like for lenders post-pandemic.

While there’s reticence about the uncertainty currently surrounding this brave new world in some quarters, others prefer to see any change as a decisive opportunity for growth.

Regardless of your approach, the simple fact is this…

After the existing stay on possession proceedings was lifted on Monday, September 21, this new normal has truly started manifesting itself.

It’s worth stating at this point that any lender authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) needs to follow the FCA’s guidance and avoid either commencing or continuing possession proceedings until October 31.

But – for the first time in six months – it’s now possible for possession and enforcement proceedings to be progressed by Property Receivers on behalf of unauthorised lenders once again.

What must happen now?

At CG&Co, we began filing “reactivation notices” as soon as the stay was lifted to restart those possession claims that were issued before August 3, 2020.

Those claims that were issued after this date will be automatically heard and don’t require reactivating.

It’s necessary to demonstrate as part of this notice that a Property Receiver is in possession of any relevant information about a borrower’s circumstances and particularly whether the pandemic has had an effect on them.

The purpose of this requirement – which lasts until March 28, 2021 – is simple. It’s to ensure that the courts are consistently fully briefed.
At CG&Co, we’ve been proactively engaging with borrowers throughout the pandemic to garner this information.

And this was resolutely the right thing to do.

Over the last few days, the early indications have been that hearing dates could take place later rather than sooner.

For example, I’ve heard anecdotally that the first available dates at some large county courts in Southern England are in March next year.

As the courts in England and Wales struggle to catch up with the backlog, it’s likely that those cases with the right paperwork in place will be the ones that are heard first.

To conclude…

It’s imperative to remember that the economic fallout from COVID-19 will ultimately end – and it’s equally important to keep looking for opportunities beyond the current uncertainty.

At CG&Co, we intend to continue working highly proactively on behalf of our clients in the coming months.

In short, we’re determined to return loans to lenders as quickly as possible.

As the new normal manifests itself and greater certainty returns, lenders and brokers must consistently adopt the most proactive approach possible to Receivership.

And it’s equally imperative that they’re supported by the most knowledgeable and decisive team of Property Receivers.