The ability to forfeit a lease allows a landlord in certain circumstances to re-enter the property following a breach of a provision of the lease (a covenant) by the tenant. Depending upon the nature of the breach, the landlord can re-take possession of the property immediately by ‘peaceably re-entering’ or following a period of notice.
To successfully forfeit a lease, a landlord will need to establish a right to do so. Commonly, landlords are able to rely on a specific covenant that has been breached. However, landlords should proceed with caution because if a lease is forfeited when the right to forfeit has not arisen, the tenant will be able to bring a claim for wrongful forfeiture. It is therefore important to obtain legal advice as soon as a breach occurs.
Once a right to forfeit has been established, save for cases involving unpaid rent, the landlord must follow a statutory notice procedure and serve a written notice pursuant to section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925.
Contact SCS Law today for assistance about forfeiture of commercial leases.