Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery: what to expect

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After a somewhat delayed start, the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (TCEA) is now due to come into force in April 2014. TCEA will abolish the historic right of landlords to levy distress for rent and introduce a new statutory procedure that landlords must follow. The new procedure is called Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) and places additional burdens on landlords.

For landlords, CRAR seems likely to be less effective than distress. For example, it is restricted to wholly commercial premises and to ‘pure’ rent. In addition to the increase in documentation and procedural requirements, the seven-day minimum notice period could mean that tenants will put goods out of the reach of the bailiffs, making the remedy redundant. But there are some benefits, such as the clarity on the hours when it may be used and the categories of exempt goods. 

Tenants are likely to welcome the changes, which tip the balance of the distress process in their favour — in particular by removing the surprise element of bailiffs attending at their doors…

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