Bailiffs and Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery

on Friday, 04 April 2014. Posted in Property

Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery

Historically where a tenant was in arrears of rent, the landlord was entitled to enter into property and seize goods to the value of the unpaid rent. New rules in force today abolish the landlord’s ancient right of distress.

The landlord can still take control of a tenant’s goods in order to recover an equivalent value to the rent arrears, but unlike distress:

  • Must give 7 days’ notice
  • Only seek principal rent and VAT, not other sums reserved as rent
  • Action is limited in mixed use premises
  • Can only be exercised by an enforcement agent
  • Entry usually only between 06:00 – 21:00
  • Goods seized can only be sold at public auction

If the rules are not followed the tenant can claim damages against the Landlord.


Obtaining a judgment in Court is not always the end of the story for successful litigants. After having won their case, any order will need to be enforced.

As reported on the BBC, there are also new rules in force today restricting and regulating the use of bailiffs to enforce debts following a court judgment.

Salisbury Solicitors Sampson Coward specialise in rent arrears recovery and enforcement of judgments.

For more advice please contact Matthew Knight, Head of Civil Litigation.