How to proceed when the moratorium is over?

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Will the emergency end? Can the evictions resume?

This is not a rhetorical question. The bill presented by the government does not clearly explain the rules on evictions and enforcement.

For the duration of the emergency, 57/2020. (III. 23.) Government Decree temporarily overwrote several provisions of the Execution Act. Among other things, no evictions took place. An earlier publication of the Streetlawyer provides an easier understanding of the transitional rules.

When does the emergency end?

There is already a bill before the parliament on ending the emergency, which will also settle the fate of the transitional rules on enforcement.

The bill contains the following provision regarding entry into force:

Section 393. (1) This Act shall enter into force upon the cessation of the emergency situation, with the exception specified in subsections (2) – (4). …

(5) The calendar day of the entry into force of this Act shall be established by the Prime Minister by an individual resolution published in the National Gazette immediately after it has become known.

The determination of the cessation of the emergency is the responsibility of the government, i.e. everything related to the further course of enforcement proceedings in the law will come into force depending on the day on which the government ceases the emergency. It is a misconception that the adoption of the submitted bill will eliminate the emergency. For the time being, the government has informed on the basis of press reports about the day on which the government intends to declare the end of the emergency. There is news that it is June 15, and there is news that June 20 will be this day.

When can suspended enforcement actions resume?

At the same time, the bill specifies specific deadlines and calendar days in connection with enforcement procedures, which – under the rule of law – play an important role. Pursuant to Section 152 of the Bill, a procedural act requiring personal contact may be performed again from 2 July 2020. Examples are the evacuation of an apartment, the withdrawal of a seized vehicle from circulation, or the auctioning of residential property by a private debtor.

A particular difficulty in interpreting the law is the fact that the bill does not repeal government decrees issued under special authority at the time of the emergency. Under the so-called “Authorization Act”, government decrees made in an emergency can last until the end of the emergency, i.e. the provisions contained in it expire when the emergency ceases. That sounds simple. However, according to the Government Decree on Enforcement Procedures, suspensive enforcement actions (e.g. evictions) may resume on the 15th day after the end of the emergency. This 15-day deferral, on the other hand, expires on the day the emergency ceases. If this line of thought is not clear enough, don’t blame us.

That is, it is not possible to decide whether, among other things, the evictions could begin again from July 2 or sometime later. As it stands, suspended acts of enforcement proceedings (e.g. eviction) can start from 2 July, provided the Prime Minister (!) enters into force a law passed by parliament by then.

The end of the emergency and the resumption of enforcement procedures mean that the pre-viral order of enforcement is restored.

It is important that legally, enforcement and eviction proceedings can only be conducted on the basis of an independent bailiff’s enforceable deed, in accordance with the rules set out in the law. Arbitrary evictions and executions remain illegal.

The most important information on leasing and termination of tenancy has been collected here.

Although the exact date for the resumption of proceedings after the end of the emergency has not yet been determined, it is certain that the eviction and enforcement proceedings will begin and continue sometime in July. Which also means that procedural deadlines are restarted, such as deadlines open for suspension of enforcement.

More about the eviction procedure can be found in our Anti-Eviction Guide, written together with The City is for All (AVM) group. We have written here about the transitional enforcement rules that apply during an emergency, and about information about tenancy contracts here and here.

The coronavirus epidemic and the measures taken to curb it have serious economic consequences that significantly affect people living in housing poverty. Those who have lost their jobs find themselves in a completely hopeless life situation when they are evicted.

Meanwhile, a second coronavirus epidemic wave is also likely. When social distancing and home quarantine are the most important means of controlling the epidemic, protection is completely impossible for families who are evicted to the streets after an eviction moratorium. In addition, with a few exceptions, there is still no political will to recognize the right to housing.

The Streetlawyer Association is of the opinion, especially in times of crisis, that the right to housing and social security needs to be strengthened, rather than weakened.

Image: Tom Rumble on Unsplash