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Hi,

I deal mainly in residential lettings but do have one shop premises. The tenants of 6 years dissapeared from the premises somewhere around 12 months ago. I have been unable to locate them and have not received any rent or replies to written correspondence during the last 12 months. The lease expires in 2 days time so I want to take back possession at minimal cost to myself but in the correct manner.

Not having previous commercial premises experience can anyone advise me on the correct procedure.

Thanks,

k4gse

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I am pretty sure that if rent is not paid on a commercial property you can simply move in and change the locks. I do not think you had to wait 12 months.

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Thanks for this. Can anyone else shed any light on the matter. I don't really want to just re-take possession and risk any comeback.

K4gse

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Depends what the lease says. Standard is that if rent remains unpaid for 21 days after demand then landlord can re enter. In practice, you can only really do this when there is no one at the premises (as in this case). If there is a residential element to the premises then you cannot simply re enter. If it is just a lock up then you probably needn't have waited. If there are goods on the premises then struictly you need to comply with the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act - summary, give notice to last known address and then sell for best price reasonably obtainable, account to tenant for the proceeds less cost of storing and selling. Commercially you have a pretty hefty rent claim against the tenant I expect so any counterclaim for non compliance with that Act will simply offset your own rent claim.

Once reentry complete then post notices to the effect that the lease is forfeited with an address and phone number for anyone with goods in the premises to get in touch. It is a good idea to attend with the police or simply employ a private bailiff who will deal with all the notices, locksmithery, inventory etc.

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Thanks "onlyname left",

Do you know if there is anything I can do to protect against being chased for any unpaid utility bills etc. How do I prove I have only just taken repossession to them?

K4gse

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You show them the lease, take the meter readings whe you go in and advise you are responsible from that date only. It's up to them to prove you owe them the money which of course they cannot do if liability for utilities etc lies with the tenant. Having said that, if the property has been empty for 12 months and there are arrears predating that you might find the connections have been terminated in any event.

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