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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.

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.