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What can I do if a commercial tenant doesn’t pay their rent?

What can I do if a commercial tenant doesn’t pay their rent?

There are a number of options open to you where a commercial tenant doesn’t pay their rent on a property. Here we look at the approaches you can take to recover the debt or evict the tenant.

Short or long term problem?

Consider the likelihood of this happening again if this is the first time a tenant has missed a rent payment. Where it’s an isolated occurrence, speak to your tenant and try to make a plan for them to cover the missed payment.

You can take further action if it looks like they have long term financial problems.

Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR)

Where a commercial tenant doesn’t pay their rent, but you want them to stay in the property, you can use enforcement agents to recover the arrears. This is only viable if their business is still trading

If the tenant doesn’t comply with the Notice of Enforcement, or doesn’t pay when the bailiffs attend at the property, goods can be seized and sold to pay the arrears. This can often be enough of a prompt for immediate payment to be made.

Forfeiture of lease

You have the option to forfeit the lease when your commercial tenant doesn’t pay their rent. This is beneficial if you perceive the situation this will continue in the future, .

This process can be started where a tenant is at least 21 days in arrears. There is no need to go to court to carry this out.

Enforcement agents can peacefully gain entry to the property and change the locks – preventing the tenant from gaining access and forfeiting the lease.

Do I need a possession order to evict commercial tenants?

The majority of commercial landlords forfeit a lease through the above Common Law route. However, there are cases where you will require a possession order from the courts to terminate the lease.

This will provide your tenant with a period to file their defence or to apply for relief for forfeiture. They can then pay off the arrears and any associated costs.

When you are granted a possession order, the tenant will be given 28 days to apply for relief or leave the property. At this point you will have possession back.

You can find more details on our forfeiture of lease services here or contact us today to discuss your case.

How can I evict travellers from my land?

How can I evict travellers from my land?

Travellers setting up unauthorised camps on private land can cause problems for your business. It is inconvenient and disruptive for employees and customers when travellers arrive on disused land or business car parks. Acting quickly to evict travellers from your land is the key to minimising the damage they cause and the cost to your business.

I have travellers on my property

Talking to the traveller families is often the first step, but only if you feel it is safe and appropriate. Tell them that it is private property, ask what they are doing and how long they’re staying. Use your own judgement and, if you feel unsafe or intimidated by the group, don’t put yourself at risk.

Do I have to go to court to evict travellers?

It’s often presumed that you require a court order to take back possession of your land. However, this is not the case and, in many instances, travellers can be removed on the same day.

Instructing a bailiff to remove travellers

Private landowners, under Common Law, can evict travellers and regain possession of their land. This doesn’t require any court action and can be enforced by a Certified Enforcement Agent (bailiff).,

A bailiff will typically visit the site on the same day and serve an eviction notice on the travellers. They will speak to the group and encourage them to leave before the end of the notice period.

Bailiffs will attend again where they have not left by the next day (or sooner if necessary) and use a tow trick to evict the travellers.

Can travellers be evicted the same day?

Unauthorised encampments can, in some cases, be served with notice and evicted on the same day. This is beneficial for sites that are open to the public, such as pub and restaurant car parks, where the encampment would be disruptive to the business.

Bailiffs visit the site with tow trucks, post notices of eviction and give reasonable time to move. This is typically two hours, but can be as little as one.

Do police evict travellers?

Trespass is a civil, rather than a criminal, matter. The police tend to only be involved in cases of public disorder or where a criminal offence occurs.

When bailiffs attend to evict travellers who refuse to leave they will wait for police attendance in order to prevent a breach of the peace.

You can find out more about how we can help evict travellers from your land here or contact us if you have an urgent matter.

How can I recover business debts?

How can I recover business debts?

Debts are a big problem for business finances, particularly those of smaller companies. It’s essential to take charge of these before they get out of control. You can take a number of steps to successfully recover business debts.

The problem of business debts

The late payment of invoices has become a huge issue for many small businesses in the UK. Around a third of invoices due to smaller companies are paid late. The average amount owed for a late invoice is over £6,000 and businesses need to get on top of this to improve their cash flow.

Small businesses can run into difficulties when they have to chase up unpaid invoices. Figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) highlight that 37% of businesses have experienced cash flow problems; 30% have been pushed into using an overdraft; and 20% have seen profits affected. It can lead to businesses failing in the worst cases.

How to recover debts

The first step to getting payment from a debtor is to contact them. Invoices can sometimes be overlooked, so this is often an effective tool, and companies can hold out till the last moment. You may need to negotiate a settlement or payment plan with them if they are having trouble paying. This approach could be less costly then escalating the issue.

Using the courts to recover debts

You can make a claim against them in the courts if you still have no joy getting payment from a debtor. Once you issue a claim for a County Court Judgement (CCJ) you will incur additional costs. These can be added to the amount the debtor owes.

When a judgement is awarded in your favour, the debtor will be given a period to pay, or the court may have stated it can be paid in instalments. Where a debt remains unpaid after this time you can have it enforced.

How do I enforce a CCJ?

A County Court Bailiff can carry this out with a warrant of execution. Judgements for over £600 can be transferred to a High Court writ and enforced by High Court Enforcements Officers (HCEO).

At the Bailiff Company we can provide this service for you, with costs added to the debtor and a compliance fee returned on successful enforcement.

For more information on our debt recovery services please click here or contact us to discuss your case.

How can I protect land from traveller encampments?

How can I protect land from traveller encampments?

Traveller encampments on private land are an inconvenience and cost that you don’t want to be constantly having. However, there are measures you can take to make your site less appealing.

When you have a traveller encampment on your land we can work quickly to evict them. We can also offer assistance to create a more secure site in the first place.

Even with additional measures in place, it’s not guaranteed to prevent unauthorised access. There are a number of methods you can employ and these examples are not an exhaustive list.

Vulnerability to travellers and unauthorised access

The first step is to review the current security of the site, as if you were attempting to gain access. Start with the perimeter and see where a vehicle with a trailer or caravan could get in.

Simple barriers or small gaps in the road will not necessarily be effective. Travellers will use a variety of ways to get onto a site.

Preventing unauthorised access

One means of preventing traveller encampments is to build mounds at strategic points. These don’t need to stand out and can be designed as part of the overall landscape.

They can be created from rubble and then covered with grass or plants. The mounds can help to fill in spaces between buildings, trees and other structures or used to back-up the perimeter.

Digging ditches can also work to stop travellers gaining access when used in conjunction with other measures. These can be bridged by the travellers and you also need to consider any drainage issues.

A cheap, but effective, way of blocking access is to use obstacles that can’t be moved easily. This includes boulders or large tree trunks and other objects that are sympathetic to the landscape.

Fencing and gates are another option, but, depending on the materials, these can come at a significant cost. Steel fencing is more effective than wooden designs, but costs more and isn’t as visually pleasing.

When you’re specifying gates you need to consider the type of locks, to prevent them being forced open. It’s also important to check they can’t be lifted off from the hinges.

Illegal traveller encampments on my land

If travellers have gained access to your site we can help you evict them as quickly as possible. Click here for details of all our traveller eviction services.

Can I use a bailiff to collect commercial rent arrears?

Can I use a bailiff to collect commercial rent arrears?

The build up of commercial rent arrears on one of your properties puts a strain on your own business or personal finances. This is an issue that needs resolving as soon as possible.

Instructing the services of a (bailiff) is an effective way of doing so. They will collect the rent arrears on your behalf at no cost to you as a landlord. This means that you can have your commercial rent arrears recovered without having to pay out any further costs. The tenant pays all the additional fees for the Certificated Enforcement Agent services.

Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery

The issuing of an enforcement notice to the tenant starts the process for Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR). This must be sent by a Certificated Enforcement Agent and provides them with a seven day period of compliance to make full payment of their arrears. Tenants can apply to the court for the arrears to be set aside or to obtain a delay of execution.

If they fail to pay within the allotted time, a Certificated Enforcement Agent will attend at the commercial premises unannounced. The bailiff can take control of goods held on the property without full payment. This can be up to the value of the rent owed and any costs. The goods will ultimately be auctioned off to cover the commercial rent arrears if the tenant still doesn’t pay.

What debts can be included in CRAR?

The actual rent arrears is the only element that you can recover through this process. Anything else owed to you under the tenancy agreement, such as service charges and insurance, cannot be enforced through CRAR.

To collect commercial rent arrears under the Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 there must be a written lease in place. You don’t have to go to court to start the process, but the lease must only cover commercial areas.

If a tenant owes you money for additional services you need to apply separately for a County Court Judgement (CCJ) to recover these. Once a CCJ has been issued against the debtor you can have this transferred to a High Court Writ. A Sheriff Officer can then enforce it on your behalf. For more information on how we can help with debt recovery please click here.

If you need to recover commercial rent arrears then you can find more information on our services here. Alternatively contact us to see how we can help.