The law of distress for rent arrears is an ancient remedy that has remained broadly unchanged for centuries. In 1749, a practitioner described it as: “the remedy obtained so early in our law, that we have no memorial of its original with us”.1 In its earlier form, it entitled a landlord to enter property let to its tenant, seize goods and hold them until any rent arrears had been settled. Since 1689, a landlord has also been entitled to sell the goods to recover the outstanding rent.
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