Section 19 Housing Act 1988 used to state:

Restriction on levy of distress for rent

(1)Subject to subsection (2) below, no distress for the rent of any dwelling-house let on an assured tenancy shall be levied except with the leave of the county court; and, with respect to any application for such leave, the court shall have the same powers with respect to adjournment, stay, suspension, postponement and otherwise as are conferred by section 9 above in relation to proceedings for possession of such a dwelling-house.

(2)Nothing in subsection (1) above applies to distress levied under section 102 of the [1984 c. 28.] County Courts Act 1984.


But it was repealed by Sch. 14 para. 45, TCEA2007:

Omit section 19 of the Housing Act 1988.

In the rest of sch. 14, various provisions are repealed, including the Distress for Rent Act 1698 in its entirety, and sections 1-10, 16-17, and 19 of Distress from Rent Act 1737, notably including s18 of that act.

Does this all suggest that, with respect to residential tenancies (which the Housing Act 1988 and s19 thereof is concerned with), the government had perhaps originally intended to restrict distress claims by explicitly requiring leave of the court, but then subsequently both:

  • decided to repeal/replace most provisions for distress, while also;
  • removing this restriction on distress claims for residential tenancies by removing the requirement for leave from the court previously imposed by s19?

What could be the impetus for simultaneously removing this remedy in many cases, while in another apparently broadening its availability?

Also cited in the repeal note is UKSI 2014/768, the explanatory note of which says that it:

provides for the replacement of various powers of enforcement by way of execution and distraint by a procedure known as taking control of goods, and for the abolition of distress for rent and its replacement by a power (to be known as commercial rent arrears recovery, or CRAR) to use the taking control of goods procedure.

Does this lead one to think that the narrowing/repeal of distress remedies was primarily aimed at commercial contexts?

Regardless, what common objective would have been achieved by simultaneously narrowing or repealing it in many contexts, while freeing it from explicit leave of a court in another?


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