Commercial rent arrears recovery: practical steps for commercial landlords to consider

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Commercial landlords will be familiar with the common law remedy of levying distress for rent. It’s the self-help remedy that entitles a landlord to seize the goods of its tenant at the leased premises, to sell those goods at auction and deduct the proceeds of sale from arrears of rent.

Distress is an extremely effective means by which a landlord can secure payment from a defaulting tenant. A tenant, taken by surprise at the landlord’s action, will often be under pressure to negotiate a global deal or to settle the arrears in full.  A tenant who has a genuine dispute with its landlord can apply for an injunction to restrain the landlord from completing the distraint.

However, the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCEA) will abolish the landlord’s common law right to levy distress for rent. The TCEA 2007 received Royal Assent on 19 July 2007, but may be brought into force later this year…

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