As a commercial landlord, there will undoubtedly be occasions when you will have problems with your tenants. In cases where they are not paying their rent, you might need the services of a bailiff to evict a commercial tenant.
Can I carry out a lease forfeit?
Most standard commercial leases will include a clause giving the landlord the right to re-enter the property if breaches occur. The main reason for this is where the tenant fails to pay their rent on time. This forfeiture clause usually stipulates how late the rent needs to be before the landlord can take back possession.
As a landlord, it is essential that you ensure you have the right to forfeiture before going ahead. By using a professional bailiff service, they will carry out checks on the lease, so that you know the correct legal process is being followed.
If you want to try and collect the rent arrears instead of forfeiting the lease, then the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery process might be more suitable. You can find out more about how to recover outstanding commercial rent here.
How can a bailiff evict a commercial tenant?
When you get to the stage of carrying out a commercial lease forfeiture you can employ the services of a certificated enforcement agent (bailiff). They will then make peaceable entry into the property, change the locks and prevent the tenant from getting back in.
For non-payment of rent, a forfeiture can be carried out without giving any notice to the tenant. However, it’s important that you follow the correct procedures. With the use of a bailiff company it will ensure that you carry out the process in the right way.
They will produce all the appropriate notices, including a Torts Goods Notice, and employ the services of a locksmith to gain entry. The notices will be posted in the property and if the tenant tries to gain entry it will constitute a criminal act.
Where the property is a mixed-use site, and part of the building is in residential use at the time, the lease forfeit process cannot be used. In this case a possession order must be obtained through the courts.
Where the tenant has breached the lease in other ways than for non-payment of rent, notice will generally need to be served before a forfeit takes place.
Can the tenant re-enter the property after a forfeiture?
Once the forfeiture has taken place the lease is brought to an end. This means that the tenant cannot re-enter the property. Any goods that remain on the site will come under the Torts Interference with Goods) Act 1977 and be stored on the site for at least seven days. The tenant will need to arrange with the enforcement agent / landlord to collect any personal effects.
In some circumstances, the tenant will pay the rent arrears and costs incurred (such as bailiff and locksmith fees) following a forfeiture. As the landlord, you should then allow them back into the property and set up a new lease.
Tenants may also apply for relief from forfeiture through the courts. This provides them with the opportunity to put right any breaches of the lease, including repaying any rent arrears and costs, to regain access to the building.
Using a bailiff for a lease forfeit
At The Bailiff Company, we have certificated enforcement agents working across the country who can carry out lease forfeits on your behalf. They understand the process and will ensure that re-entry is conducted peaceably and legally. Typically, this is done out of business hours and all the appropriate notices will be displayed.
Speak to one of the office team today to discuss your requirements. We could be carrying out a lease forfeit for you as early as tomorrow – enabling you to regain possession of your property quickly.