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Law of Distraint should be amended.

Comment 21st July 2010

 

 

The law of Distraint in commercial properties allows the landlord to send in bailiffs to remove assets of the company without any prior notice to the tenant.  No court order or notification is needed and all costs are passed onto the tenants.  This law effectively ensures that the landlord can immediately close down a trading enterprise for any amount of arrears and at any time.  This is fine when a tenant is deliberately trying to withhold rent from the landlord but in cases where companies are genuinely suffering as is happening in the current climate and are trying to keep their companies alive, this law basically allows landlords to harass tenants into borrowing from family, selling personal assets and other methods to keep their companies alive.

 

The law should be amended so that landlords have to give due warning before sending in bailiffs and also tenants should be given time to pay back arrears without damaging the company or their personal assets.

Why does this matter?

 

 

Landlords often use this law as a tool to punish/ evict tenants they do not want in their premises.  I recently had my landlord send the bailiffs into my shop because he did not receive the cheque in the morning, but in the afternoon.  As a result I lost almost £10,000 in trade forget about the damage the bailiffs did to the premises by ripping out all the equipment from the walls including the kitchen sink. In order to get my property back I had to pay £4700 to the bailiff even though I had done nothing wrong.  When we approached the landlord he claimed that we were supposed to give him cleared funds even though for the last 9 years we have been paying by cheque.

Like all other businesses we are suffering but have had no help from the landlord, in cases were the tenant is genuinely trying to pay their obligations, bailiffs should not be allowed to walk in and rape the company of all it's assets. Leaving the business with no redress against the landlord despite all the damage he caused, the business.  This draconian law should not be allowed in this country, landlords should not be able to just walk into premises without giving notice or allowing  a sufficient period to pay arrears.  In my case their were no arrears, but the cheque simply arrived late.  The law destroys peoples livelihoods, as well as all those workers who work for the company, forget about families and personal lives.

 

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