Commercial rent arrears recovery: are you ready?

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By Liam Bell

On 6 April 2014, the common law right for a landlord to seize a tenant’s goods and to sell them in order to recover outstanding rent arrears — a right known as ‘distress’, which has existed since before the Magna Carta — will be abolished. Instead, landlords will have to use a new statutory method of enforcement, known as commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR), governed by the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 and the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013.

While the basic premise remains the same, in that the tenant’s goods are seized and sold in order to recover an amount equivalent to the outstanding arrears, CRAR introduces several key changes, including: a requirement for notice to be served on the tenant before goods are seized; removing the ability for a landlord to seize goods from mixed-use premises; and preventing a landlord from taking control of goods if the tenant’s arrears fall below a new minimum level. 

This note will cover briefly some of the most important changes…

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