None of us has a crystal ball to see what the future holds, least of all at the current time.

One thing that UK businesses have learned though, from the recession we were just coming out of, is that they need to keep a firm hand on credit management to minimise exposure to bad debt.

And in the property market, landlords have had to be more vigilant to ensure non-paying tenants are removed promptly, whether in the commercial or residential sector.

So, if the economic future continues to be challenging, foundations are certainly stronger than they were in 2008. But are there further steps creditors and landlords can take to protect their assets?

We think the key areas to focus on are:

  • Not deferring legal action to recover unpaid debt
  • Secure creditors’ assets by starting enforcement action promptly
  • Thoroughly credit check debtors and tenants before entering into an agreement
  • Recover leased assets quickly when businesses fail
  • Repossess property swiftly from non-paying tenants if interest rates rise or the buy-to-let market declines

There is likely to be more call on the services of High Court Enforcement Officers over the coming months, with the sheriffs coming to many debtors’ premises. Just a word of caution though: in times of recession, sometimes the sheriffs are instructed too late for the debtor to have any assets left.

On a more entertaining note, the sheriffs will definitely be coming back to BBC One this summer, with a primetime series. We’ll let you know as soon as we have times and dates.

David Carter

David is the former CEO of The Sheriffs Office.

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