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Article > When can a Landlord Forfeit the Lease on their Rental Property?

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Sadly, there are tenants with common problems for many landlords these days. Perhaps by failing to make their rental payments or refusing to repair damage caused to the property, which, ultimately, brings about not only financial loss for the landlord but also the issue of how the landlord can remove that tenant from the property legally.

If a tenant defaults on their rental payments, the landlord can apply to his nearest county court for a forfeiture of that lease resulting in the removal of the tenant and property being returned to its rightful owner. However, applying for a forfeiture of lease should really be classed as a last resort and, ideally, the landlord should have first taken steps to rectify the problem and recover the monies owed himself.

If the landlord is on good terms with the tenant and perhaps the tenant has every intention of paying what is owed but has fallen on hard times then it may be possible to set up a mutual agreement between both parties in order for the landlord to recover the arrears. This agreement, despite being an informal agreement between the landlord and tenant, should still be put in writing and signed by both parties as a safeguard in case the agreement should come unstuck.

If a mutual agreement is not an option, as with many cases, then the landlord should issue the tenant with a demand for all monies owed. The demand should state the final date by which the payment should be made or a set date on which the landlord wishes to receive payment, how he wishes to be paid, whether via cheque, postal order or directly into his bank account, as well as the landlord’s name and contact details.

If this demand is ignored and no further payments are received it is at this point that the landlord can then take legal action.

Should a breach of lease occur for another reason other than non-payment of the rent then the landlord cannot immediately apply to the courts for a forfeiture of the lease. He must first serve the tenant with a section 146 notice (Restrictions on and Relief against Forfeiture of Leases and Underleases). The section 146 notice must document, in detail, the breach committed by the tenant, for example, damage to the interior of the property which needs to be put right or ceasing to play excessively loud music after a certain time at night. The notice will also include a set period of time in which the tenant will be expected to rectify the problems. Once this period of time has come to an end the landlord can visit the property to ensure the breach has been rectified and, if so, can no longer follow through with a forfeiture of the lease. However, if the tenant has not remedied the problem within the set time period, the landlord can then push ahead with the forfeiture.

It is possible for a tenant who has defaulted on their rent payments, which has resulted in a forfeiture of lease, to apply for relief from forfeiture through the court but, in order for relief to be granted, the tenant will need to have paid off any rental arrears as well as any court costs incurred by the landlord before the hearing takes place. It is a slightly different matter when a tenant applies for relief from forfeiture after being served with a section 146 notice which they haven’t adhered to and, in most cases, the granting or refusal of the relief will all come down to the judge’s discretion.

To considerably reduce the chances of problematic tenants, ensure that each tenant undergoes professional and thorough tenant referencing.

Most Online Letting Agents offer a tenant referencing service and comprehensive tenant referencing will not only pull up any previous credit problems but will also unearth any problems experienced by previous landlords such as rent arrears, property damage or antisocial behaviour. provide an in depth tenant referencing service offering peace for mind to any landlord concerned about finding reliable, trustworthy tenants for their rental property as well as popular property portals such as Zoopla, Rightmove, FindaProperty and PrimeLocation.



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