Gallowglass Security, working with Cluttons – an international firm of chartered surveyors – has been providing Front of House services and 24-hour security for the former MI6 headquarters in London. The 72,000 square foot, Grade A commercial property in the heart of London was originally constructed in the 1920’s as the headquarters for MI6. It was occupied under the guise of the “Minimax Fire Extinguisher Company” to maintain its secrecy.
Since MI6 and the latest tenants have left the building, it has undergone a complete refurbishment to provide high-quality, Grade A office space.
Gallowglass Security has been securing the property in advance of the next tenants moving in, with a focus on high calibre front of house services whilst managing the day-to-day signing-in contractors whilst ensuring a high-level of customer service is maintained when potential tenants arrive to view the building.
The on-site staff managing the property are supported by the head-office team. This ensures the new tenants have the appropriate risk assessments and method statements available to them prior to taking on the tenancy.
The short-term contract to secure the site and prepare the building for its new tenants has been underway for the last two weeks.
George Oliver, the Head of Gallowglass Security’s property division said: “This is an example of a high-quality team delivering a flexible and effective service for our clients. Our remit is not only the protection of the building, but front of house services, ensuring all guests and staff receive a warm and professional welcome. We take pride in our ability to deliver services above and beyond those you would expect from a security company. We ensure a consistent, professional and secure service throughout the building.”
A famous restaurant in London has recently made the headlines due to a landmark case brought against this London establishment by the building’s owner. The owner is “demanding that the Wolseley’s operators Corbin & King pay all of the almost £1m of rent debt that built up while the restaurant was closed during coronavirus lockdowns” according to the Financial Times. Corbin and King have referred to the clause in their contract that states the company is not entitled to pay rent whilst unable to operate, which was signalled by the numerous lockdowns. This issue is one that is playing out up and down the country. According to the same article, estimates suggest that there is £6.4bn in unpaid rent across the UK. All of which could have an enormous impact on our city centres and high streets across the UK.
Here we look at what powers there are to pursue for rent and how tenants can get support to help manage the payments that landlords may legally be entitled to.
What is a High Court Writ of Control?
A high court writ of control is a document obtained via a designated high court enforcement officer, of a debt of £600.00 or greater. The writ itself can be obtained via a standard CCJ, or in this case, can be issued through a combined writ of possession and control whereby historical rent arrears are recoverable. It allows our enforcement officers to levy goods up to and including the value of the writ.
How do I obtain a High Court Writ of Control?
Once you have a CCJ or a possession order outlining rent arrears, Gallowglass Enforcement offers a variety of services. We offer evictions, as well as attempted recovery of the rent arrears, using experienced enforcement agents with an abundance of industry experience. Once the ‘transfer-up’ process is competed the writ will be assigned to one of our accredited enforcement agents to recover the outstanding debt. The ‘transfer-up’ process is the process of gaining a high court writ of control from a CCJ or a possession order from the county court.
What powers does this give me to pursue a former tenant?
You can pursue the debtor for your money as long as it is within six years of the original county court judgment. A high court writ of control affords our enforcement agents the right to levy goods should the debtor decide not to pay. Our enforcement agents can also force entry to commercial premises. There is a clear advantage of using high court enforcement rather than county court, where combined warrants are not possible; the county court bailiff does not work at a commission rate so there is no incentive to chase diligently. Gallowglass also offers a tracing service, therefore enforcement on historical tenants will prove fruitful assuming a forwarding address is found.
What powers does my tenant have?
Your tenant can contest the debt by applying to the court to get the judgment set aside. This would be via Part 13 of setting aside of varying default judgment. Since rent arrears originate from non-payment of a contractual obligation on the part of the tenant, they would therefore have little if no recourse for rebuttal. However, each defence from each tenant would have its own merits and the judge would make these decisions accordingly, should the tenant choose to contest the writ. However, at the point of the writ of control issue the judge may find that the debtor has had numerous opportunities to either pay the debt, or enter mediation with the claimant.
Who can offer support to my former tenant?
There are a variety of debt support and relief services, the Citizens Advice Bureau, stepchange.org and nationaldebtline.org to name a few. They may also choose to contest the debt using their own chosen legal professional.