> When can a Landlord Forfeit the Lease on their
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
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.
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.
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.
this demand is ignored and no further payments are
received it is at this point that the landlord can
then take legal action.
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.
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