The long awaited abolition of distress for rent will take place on 6 April next year. It will be replaced by Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR). Before taking action a landlord must serve an enforcement notice by an enforcement agent. The notice must give the tenant at least seven clear days notice, excluding Sundays and bank holidays. It is possible to shorten the period of notice on application to the Court.
CRAR can only be exercised for rent arrears for commercial premises. It cannot be exercised for sums reserved as rent such as service charges and insurance. There must be at least seven days arrears. CRAR cannot be exercised where the premises have mixed commercial and residential use.
After expiry of the notice period, then the enforcement agent can enter the premises between 6am and 9pm on any day of the week. He may enter the demised premises without a warrant and in limited circumstances can use reasonable force to enter. He cannot use force against persons. He can remove goods except for tools of the trade up to a value of £1,350 or items in actual use, if seizing them is likely to lead to a breach of the peace. Goods seized can be removed from the premises but cannot be offered for sale until seven days have elapsed. That period can be shortened if the goods will become unsalable or their value would be reduced substantially. It is still possible to give an agent walking possession by signing a Controlled Goods Agreement.
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