There have been several distress for rent acts in the 17th and 18th centuries, which provide a right for distress. What is the nature of this right and the origin of its name?
Distress or distraint refers to a right to seize the personal property of a wrong-doer to satisfy a demand. The landlord might seize your horse for non-payment of rent, under this right. For example (1414) "Full power and autorite..the same tenantz and tenantdris til distreyn and hald, till all rerages and dettes..be assethid". This is an example of Law French, deriving from Old French destreindre "to strain, press, wring, vex extremely, straighten" and Old French destresser, destrecier, both ultimately derives from Latin distringere (distringo)..