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How long does a commercial eviction take in the UK?

As the landlord of a commercial property in the UK, you might need to handle a commercial eviction to regain possession of your property. This process can sometimes be complex and time-consuming, particularly if the tenant disputes your decision. 

When it comes to commercial evictions, understanding the correct steps can help landlords manage their properties more effectively and avoid unnecessary litigation disputes or legal action.

What is a Commercial Property?

A commercial property is generally considered as anything that isn’t used for living in (known as a domestic dwelling). This includes:

Having a formal, written contract that clearly outlines the landlord's right to take action in specific circumstances is crucial for all commercial property leases. Verbal leases should always be avoided as they are difficult to enforce legally.

Reasons for Commercial Eviction

Commercial Eviction for Non-Payment of Rent

Non-payment of rent is a common reason for eviction. In such cases, landlords can reclaim the premises without prior notice, although attaching a Notice of Repossession to the front door is recommended. 

Under the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) process, landlords can give seven clear days' notice to instruct an Enforcement Agent to recover and sell the tenant’s items to cover the unpaid rent.

Commercial Eviction for Breach of Lease Terms

Breaches of lease terms, such as unauthorised sub-letting or failing to maintain the property, are other common reasons for eviction. 

A commercial property solicitor typically issues a Section 146 notice, detailing the breach and the required actions for compensation. For instance, if the property is in disrepair, the landlord can invoke the Jervis and Harris clause, serving notice to repair and claiming costs from the tenant.

The eviction process can be time-consuming and complex, so seeking expert legal advice from an expert commercial property solicitor is always advisable. 

Commercial Eviction for Breach of the Repair Covenants

If your property has fallen into disrepair – meaning its physical condition has noticeably deteriorated – your tenant may be in breach of the repair condition in their lease.

To start the eviction process, you need to serve a Section 146 notice. This notice should clearly state the specific repair issues and give your tenant a reasonable timeframe to fix them.

After serving the notice, you must wait for the compliance period to pass. If the tenant fails to address the repairs within the given time, you have a couple of options. If the property is vacant, you can peaceably re-enter and take back possession. However, if the property is still occupied, you will need to begin legal proceedings to evict the tenant.

Jervis v Harris

The Jervis v Harris clause is a significant provision in many commercial property leases. It allows a landlord to step in and perform any essential repairs when a tenant has failed to maintain the property as stipulated in the lease agreement.

Why is this important for landlords?

Including a Jervis v Harris clause in your lease means you have a straightforward way to ensure your property is well-maintained, protecting your investment without the hassle of more severe legal actions. It's a practical solution that benefits both landlords and tenants by setting clear expectations and providing a direct path to resolution if issues arise.


What are the main reasons to evict a tenant?

How to Handle a Commercial Eviction in the UK

There may be several reasons why you may want to evict a tenant from your commercial property. It might be that the tenant hasn’t paid the rent for a period of time, they’ve decided to sub-let the property without permission or failed to keep the premises in good order. 

Evicting a commercial tenant in the UK involves several legal steps. Here’s an overview of the process:

Identify the Breach of Lease Agreement

Start by reviewing the lease to ensure there are grounds for eviction and check for forfeiture clauses. Common breaches include non-payment of rent, unauthorised sub-letting, and property damage. If there’s no written lease, it’s crucial to seek legal advice to prove the terms.

Serve a Section 146 Notice

This notice, issued under Section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925, informs the tenant of the breach and what they must do to remedy it. It should outline the breach, any compensation required and give the tenant reasonable time to comply. Ensure you have proof of delivery, either by hand with a witness or using a process server.

Apply for a Court Order

If the tenant fails to remedy the breach or vacate the property, you may need to start court proceedings to obtain a possession order. This involves submitting a claim form with details of the breach and any supporting evidence. The tenant can respond by filing a defence, counterclaim, or seeking more time.

Attend the Court Hearing

Both parties present their cases in court. The judge will decide whether to grant the possession order. Ensure you have up-to-date copies of the lease, payment records, communication logs, and the Section 146 notice with proof of receipt.

Enforce the Possession Order

If the tenant does not leave voluntarily after the possession order is granted, you can use County Court bailiffs to enforce it. For quicker enforcement, you can transfer the order to a High Court Writ of Possession, allowing private bailiffs to act.

The Forfeiture Process in Commercial Eviction

Forfeiture involves ending the lease due to tenant breaches. This can be executed in two ways:

Peaceable Re-Entry

If the property is vacant, the landlord can re-enter and take possession without going to court. However, this must be done without using force, as entering an occupied property without permission is a criminal offence. This method carries risks because the tenant can apply for "relief from forfeiture," potentially regaining possession and claiming compensation for any losses.

Court Order

The safest and most recommended approach is to apply to the county court for a re-possession order through an expert commercial property solicitor. The court will serve this order on the tenant, specifying a strict timeframe for vacating the property. This method ensures legal compliance and reduces the risk of the tenant reclaiming the property.

How Long Does It Take to Evict a Commercial Tenant in the UK?

The duration of a commercial eviction in the UK can vary greatly. If the tenant does not contest the eviction, the process might be completed within a few weeks. However, if there are disputes or legal challenges, the eviction could take several months. Influencing factors might include:

Specialist Commercial Eviction Solicitors

At GloverPriest, we combine our extensive experience and comprehensive legal knowledge to handle a wide range of commercial property types, allowing you to continue running your business smoothly.

If you would like further advice on commercial eviction, please don’t hesitate to speak to one of our expert commercial property solicitors today. Complete our enquiry form.


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