Landlord Help Yourself

Years ago I wrote on this subject “Landlord Help Yourself”, because in those days, although few landlords knew it, they could help themselves.  Landlords owed rent for commercial premises, provided there was no residential element in the demise, could just enter peacefully and seize the tenant’s goods and sell them.

Landlords seem to overlook their ancient rights of distress. They are worth discussing with us. [It is unfortunately quite different where the tenant has left, although, we can usually help assuming you have an address for him, (and if not we can use our tracing agent – no trace no fee)].

All that was before the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act. In 2014 section 65 of that Act came into force and with one miserable section removed 700 years of history. No more pound breach, rescouse or replevin. And to make things clear S 71 read: The common law right to distrain for arrears of rent is abolished.

The whole has been replaced by a scheme whereby only a bailiff, now termed “an enforcement agent” can act. He does that by taking control of goods.

S72 restores much of the former position:

(1) A landlord under a lease of commercial premises may use the procedure in Schedule 12 (taking control of goods) to recover from the tenant rent payable under the lease.

(2) A landlord’s power under subsection (1) is referred to as CRAR (commercial rent arrears recovery).

Briefly, in a huge fudge, Courts found that, although residential tenants had a raw deal and needed protecting, a) creditors for commercial rent were by and large behaving properly and b) anyhow they were reluctant to take on the likely extra work. Accordingly the Act arranges that CRAR would safely leave the remedy with the landlord and his agents. Almost as before!
There it is. Rent arrears? All commercial landlords need to do is locate and instruct a Certificated Bailiff (who you will remember is now called an enforcement officer). – or instruct us first.