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How to Evict a Commercial Tenant in UK?

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We understand evicting a tenant can be a difficult process for a landlord, particularly after the challenging times of the pandemic. As we emerge from the rotten pandemic it’s rather essential to look for lawful ways to carry out eviction services and regain possession. Any mistake made can be particularly damaging at the moment. Keeping up with legislative changes is important, as failing to do so can threaten a landlord’s ability to evict a tenant if something goes wrong. It is illegal to evict a tenant without following the proper legal procedures.

It’s never easy to find the ideal tenant as a landlord. Selling Commercial properties poses significant challenges due to their business utility and reliance on the success of the firm. While you should always hope for the best, there are circumstances when commercial tenant eviction is necessary. And you have all the legal rights to serve a notice of eviction and repossess your property at the end of the tenancy. So, if you’re a landlord looking to legally evict your tenants and reclaim your property you need to look at the current commercial eviction process.

This article will cover some useful tips to make the eviction process as smooth as possible if you are facing issues such as a tenancy that isn’t working out, tenants consistently making late or no payments, or tenants engaging in anti-social behavior.

Commercial tenant evictions – Covid 19 Update

While many of the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, there are still some regulations in place regarding business tenant evictions that you should consider.

Businesses that have remained closed due to the epidemic and are unable to pay their rent are now exempt from eviction. While businesses are unable to trade, the legislation tries to assist renters and landlords in reaching a rent agreement. If renters and landlords fail in business negotiations, they will have to submit to binding arbitration.

However, if the business cannot pay its rent, the landlord has limited options. Currently, it appears that the eviction prohibition will be in effect until March 25, 2022. Landlords can no longer evict tenants for non-payment of rent, but they must pay it if the tenant is capable of doing so.

In some industries, such as retail, measures such as Company Voluntary Agreements (CVAs) have grown popular for reducing rent liabilities. However, some landlords may be unable to entertain this option. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, it may be best to seek legal advice.

What is a commercial tenant?

A commercial tenant is a person who has a commercial lease, which is a legally binding agreement between the landlord and the business that occupies the property. The lease normally lasts for a specified period of time and allows the business the right to use it for business or commercial purposes. The tenant pays the landlord the agreed rent while the lease also defines the different terms and conditions that apply to both parties.

Reasons to evict a commercial tenant

Non-payment of rent is by far the most common reason for a landlord to evict a commercial tenant. Typically, this occurs because the business is having financial difficulties and is unable to raise the funds to pay its expenses. While it is usually preferable to try to reach an arrangement to avoid eviction, there are times when all other options have failed, and the landlord must consider eviction.

Another cause for commercial tenant eviction could be that the business has violated the lease terms, such as the type of business it conducts. It could even be a circumstance where there has been criminal behaviour or damage to the property.

How to evict a commercial tenant with a lease?

You cannot use the process if the tenancy has come to an end or if there is any doubt about the amount of rent due.

Claiming possession |

The first step is to claim back possession of the property, which is known as forfeiture. You forfeit the lease using a specific clause to do this so you can show you have a legal reason for terminating the lease and evicting the tenant.

The first step to claim back the possession of your property is forfeiture. To show that you have a legal justification for terminating the lease and evicting the tenant, you use a specific clause to forfeit the lease.

The right to forfeit can be handled in one of two ways |

Peaceable re-entry | Using this process you can enter the property and change the locks. This could be a riskier option as the tenant could count counter by applying for ‘relief from forfeiture’ and take back possession as well as a claim for compensation

Applying to the court for possession |

First and foremost, we always consider the rent payment arrangement as it offers a more cost-effective and time-efficient method compared to the better but more expensive and time-constrained option.

The reason for eviction plays a part in the way the process is handled.

You don’t have to give notice of intent to forfeit if it’s non-payment of rent, and you can enter the property without giving notice. You must not, however, acknowledge the tenancy’s contingency — in other words, you must not cite past-due rent or money owed. Notice of repossession should be posted on the door, and a witness, such as a solicitor or a locksmith, should be present.

To take possession in case of a breach of the tenancy agreement, you must use a section 146 notice. An attorney must serve this notice on all interested parties, and it must clearly state the nature of the breach, whether remedial action is necessary, and the specified time or amount of compensation required.

This may assist with the actual eviction, but the recovery of unpaid rent is a major concern. This is where the CRAR method comes into play.

Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR)

Using ​​Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR), commercial landlords can recover rent arrears by seizing goods from the tenant and selling them in an auction. It started on 6 April 2014 and applies to all new and existing leases from that date.

  • It does not, however, applicable to every situation. The use of the CRAR process is subject to three basic conditions |
  • It only applies to premises that are completely commercial in purpose and contain no mixed-use or residential elements such as an apartment above a shop
  • It can only be used to recover principal rent, not other things like service charges or insurance premiums
  • It can only be carried out by Certified Enforcement Agents and following the statutory procedure.

CRAR only applies if rent is past due for more than 7 days and a notice of enforcement with the required details is delivered at least 7 days before any goods are seized. Other conditions must be followed, such as a time restriction for seizing things and the fact that only particular sorts of commodities can be taken, but a Certified Enforcement Agent can assist you with this.

For instance, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 provides Security of Tenure to anyone in a business property until the lease terminates through one of the specified methods outlined in the Act.

How to evict a commercial tenant without a lease?

It is always better to have a lease in place with any commercial client, but if you are a landlord with a commercial tenant who does not have a lease, you can evict the tenant without going through the legal process.

How long does a commercial tenant eviction take?

Since there are so many variables that influence how long the procedure takes, it’s impossible to give specific figures. However, some instances can take as little as six weeks from the date of the eviction order, while others can take up to six months.

What rights does a commercial tenant have?

Being aware of the tenant’s rights is also important when it comes to looking at a commercial tenant eviction process.

For instance, the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 provides Security of Tenure to anyone in a business property until they terminate the lease through one of the specified methods outlined in the Act.

This is why, in order to avoid stumbling on any legal concerns that could cause you trouble, you should always seek legal advice and have the correct professionals assist you with the procedure.

Can a landlord lock out a commercial tenant?

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 grants Security of Tenure to anyone in a business property until they terminate the lease through one of the ways specified in the Act. However, as previously said, there are risks and concerns associated with this path that may lead you to believe that court procedures are the superior option. This shields you from any negative consequences of doing this step.

Can Landlord Change Locks Without Notice Commercial Property UK?

In the competitive world of commercial property rentals, both tenants and landlords need clarity about their rights and responsibilities. One common concern for tenants is whether a landlord can change locks without providing notice. In the UK, the legal framework provides some guidance. Typically, landlords are required to provide notice before entering the property, unless there is an emergency situation. However, the issue becomes more complex when it comes to changing locks. While there is no specific legal requirement for landlords to give notice before changing locks in commercial properties, they are advised to do so to maintain good tenant relationships. As a tenant, it’s important to be aware of your rights and the terms outlined in your lease agreement. Understanding the laws and regulations surrounding lock changes in commercial properties can help protect your interests and ensure a smooth landlord-tenant relationship. This article explores the topic in further detail, providing insights into landlord rights, tenant responsibilities, and the potential legal implications of changing locks without proper notice. Whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, it’s essential to stay informed and navigate the complexities of the commercial property market with confidence.

Summing-up

Shergroup uses their highly experienced eviction officers who know how to appropriately manage an eviction situation. If you already have a possession order and need experts to drive it ahead for you, please speak to our expert team who can guide you on timelines costs and any procedural points you need to complete before you pay our fee.

Shergroup is an expert CRAR and has a dedicated team of High Court Enforcement Officers who’d help you in carrying out different stages of commercial tenant eviction and repossession of your property process smoothly and lawfully.

Get in touch with our business solutions advisors to expedite your process.

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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