In our alerts of June/July 2013 and January 2014, we looked at some of the background to - and issues likely to arise out of - the forthcoming introduction of the commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR) procedure.

This is just a quick reminder that the new rules are coming into force on 6 April 2014, and that the "headlines" are:

  • It is no longer possible to simply distrain for rent arrears, both in relation to residential premises and commercial.
  • For residential premises, any arrears must be pursued through the courts. However, for commercial premises, there will be the new CRAR procedure which replaces distraint allowing a landlord to pursue a new form of "self-help" remedy.
  • The new procedure requires that seven clear days' warning notice is given to the tenant before an enforcement officer then attends at the premises with a view to taking away goods or requiring the tenant to enter into a controlled goods agreement (which is similar to the old "walking possession"). Clearly the need for advance notice is likely to reduce the effectiveness of the remedy if the tenant's goods are portable.
  • CRAR applies only to commercial premises. It is not available in relation to mixed use premises where, for example, there is a flat above a shop included in the same lease; or a pub which includes residential accommodation for the staff and manager.
  • CRAR may be used only in relation to "pure" rent.