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Thomas, Lawyer
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 7620
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My commercial landlord has changed the locks on my workshop

Customer Question

My commercial landlord has changed the locks on my workshop because I'm behind with the rent. Can they stop my access to retreave my property without a court order?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.

Thanks for your question.

A landlord is entitled to use the law of distraint (distress) to take the property of the tenant if they are behind with their rent I’m afraid.

However, there is some archaic legislation which may provide you with some small assistance. This states that they cannot seize either you clothes or your tools of the trade to the value of £150.00 (s4 Law of Distress Amendment Act 1888). You should write to them in this regard and insist that arrangements are made for the return of such qualifying items to you.

You should also enquire if by taking re-entry your landlord has forfeited your lease so that it is terminated.
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I will answer your follow up questions you may have.

Kind regards,

Thomas and 2 other UK Property Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hi Tom,
If I think that the landlord has not acted lawfully in their "quiet re-entry" process, (ie. cutting off the locks without the presence of a certified bailiff), what action can I take to redeem my goods and property which they are witholding?

Kind regards
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.
Hi Kris,

As this is a commercial property there is no requirement for a court order or bailiff, the landlord can effect re-entry themeselves.

You've got to write/email the solicitors or the landlord and demand that those items referred to in my above answer are returned to you.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
But I have done this and they are not responding. Do I have any legal right of re-entry to redeem my property?
Expert:  Thomas replied 6 years ago.
No, you do not have any rights of access if the lease is forfeit.

You need to say that you will sue them if those items in my above answer are not returned.