Landlords of commercial property can repossess the property under Common Law by forfeiting the lease. They also have the option of removing tenants under a writ of possession.

Forfeiture of lease

The lease will normally give the landlord the right to forfeit the lease if the tenant has breached the terms of the lease, most commonly non-payment of rent.

After this time, you can forfeit the lease simply by peaceably entering the property whilst there is no one on the premises and changing the locks. Once the lease has been forfeited, the tenant's and any subtenants’ right to use the property comes to an end. Notice does not have to be given to the tenant.

Normally the landlord would instruct a certificated enforcement agent to do this on his behalf.

The landlord should be careful to ensure that he does not do anything that might waive his right to forfeit. Acts of waiver include demanding or accepting rent payments and exercising their right to recover rent arrears via CRAR.

The landlord will only regain the right to forfeit if the tenant goes into arrears on a subsequent occasion.

Remove commercial tenants under a writ of possession

As an alternative to forfeiture of the lease, commercial landlords may apply for an order of possession, which you then transfer to the High Court for enforcement by The Sheriffs Office under a writ of possession.

Leave from the court under Section 42 of the County Courts Act 1984 is required. The best time to apply for leave is at the point of applying for the possession order.

If you are also owed rent arrears, you can combine the writ for possession with a writ of control to recover the rent element at the same time as the repossession of the property.