What is a "distress"?

It is a landlord's right to seize a commercial tenant's goods, chattels and inventory ("goods") for outstanding rental arrears.

Can a landlord do so if it is not outstanding rent?


So what do landlords do?

They insert in their commercial lease that all money payable to the landlord is deemed to be "additional rent", which means the landlord can seize the tenant's "goods" in the amount now designated as "rent".

Distress - When?

I have indicated to you that a commercial landlord can seize a tenant's goods, chattels and inventory ("goods") for outstanding rental arrears.

The question is "can a commercial landlord do so at any time?

No! A landlord can only seize a tenant's "goods" after sunrise and before sunset.

It is an old law, but it is still the law.

And can the landlord exercise the distress between sunrise and sunset on any day during the week?

Yes - even on Sunday.

Distress - Fixtures?

Can a commercial landlord "seize" a tenant's chattels (such as tables and chairs for outstanding rent arrears)?

Yes! - since they are "chattels".

But can a commercial landlord seize a tenant's "fixtures"?

No! - a landlord cannot seize anything that is attached to and forming part of the premises, such as a tenant's built in bar for serving drinks.

Can a landlord seize a tenant's "leasehold improvements" - such as tenant's light fixtures?


The law is far from clear on differentiating between what can and cannot be seized by a commercial landlord for outstanding rent, so be careful!