Gone will be the days where the ‘bailiff’ is instructed to go around with powers to seize goods there and then, or enter into a walking possession. The ‘bailiff’ as such is extinct within this context, and replaced with the new CRAR enforcement agent. The important aspect here is that no CRAR action can be taken except through an appointed CRAR Enforcement Agent, and in effect this exerts a control over who actually carries out the procedure and interaction with tenants.

They are certified agents, often from the same bailiff-firms as previously used, and it’s therefore essential to clarify with these enforcement agents that they have this status and if need be proof of this. This also mirrors the change in name for the whole process, no longer distain or distress (and ‘sending in the bailiff’), but now the CRAR Commercial Rent arrears Recovery scheme and taking control of goods – hence to be technically correct, CRAR enforcement agents need to be instructed to take control of goods and action the CRAR procedure in order to progress with securing a commercial property rent arrears debt through an eventual means of seizing and selling the tenant goods on site.

Therefore these enforcement agents deal with the whole process – they are instructed by the landlord and armed with appropriate information concerning the debt and occupier and premises, and then oversee the CRAR procedure for however long it needs to continue with. In short, there are a series of notices issued to the tenant outlining the debt and giving opportunity for action and payment before further action taken for example a controlled agreement of goods, or eventual seizure of goods.

In terms of timescales, these have been deliberately slowed down in order to provide the tenant some breathing space rather than drastic action almost on the day of the bailiff visiting the property. There are two 7-day periods to consider, both of which must be carried out by the CRAR agents. The first is a 7 day period of notice AFTER the debt first becomes due. So in effect this is a warning letter that the debt is now due and further action will be taken after 7 days. The interesting point here though is that this is after the debt becomes due, so automatically creates another 7 days past any rent quarter or due date just formally to make the tenant simply aware of the situation.

The second 7-day period is after this first 7-day notice and period has expired, as is to do with the specifics of the plan to seize and sell the goods, including the proposed date, time, and location for the actual sale of any goods. If notice is failed to be effectively provided, then there is the risk that the goods will be deemed to be abandoned by the CRAR agent and in fact must be returned to the tenant.

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