Rent recovery to be changed under new rules

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Commercial landlords must be aware of changes to the law which will transform the way they collect outstanding rent, an expert has warned.

David Bailey, commercial property litigation partner at Napthens solicitors, warns that from April 6 this year a new set of rules – Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) – will replace the former common law right to ‘distress’ for rent.

The process of ‘distraining’ for rent allows landlords to instruct certificated bailiffs to pursue tenants for outstanding rent, and to seize goods and remove them for sale if payment is not made within a short period.

This can put a landlord ahead of other creditors.

David said: “Previously the element of surprise was a big weapon in a bailiff’s armoury. Under the new rules, a minimum of seven days notice – in writing – must be given before landlords can use the new CRAR process.

“This is a major change, and there is a concern that debtors will simply move property that could be seized.

“It may also allow time for a tenant to begin an insolvency process, which will generally put a stop to enforcement action for non-payment of rent.”