Leases often contain extensive (and sometimes unusual) restrictions on what a tenant may or may not do with their property such as restrictions on making structural alternations, keeping pets or subletting.

It is important that landlords and managing agents take action promptly when they become aware that a tenant has breached a covenant in their lease. Clarke Mairs LLP can act for you in contacting the tenant to require that the breaches are remedied and, if necessary, issuing court proceedings to enforce the terms of the lease and seek damages.

The most common way in which a tenant would breach their lease is non-payment of ground rent or service charge. For further information on dealing with ground rent and service charge arrears please click here

Most leases provide for legal costs incurred by the landlord in dealing with a breach of lease to be paid by the tenant. We will always review the provisions of the lease at the outset and, where possible, seek to recover all of your costs directly from the tenant.

Under the terms of the lease a landlord will usually have the right to commence forfeiture action under section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925 where there is a breach of the terms of the lease. Ultimately this process can lead to the landlord gaining possession of the property. However, in practice it is very unusual for the proceedings to reach that stage as the breach is usually remedied either by the tenant or by their mortgage company.

Forfeiture is the ultimate sanction for a tenant and there are a number of restrictions on the landlord’s ability to pursue forfeiture.

THE FORFEITURE PROCESS

The forfeiture process requires the following steps:

Forfeiture Breach Flowchart

If there is a mortgage over the property it is very common that the mortgage company will step in and ensure the breach is remedied to protect their security over the flat.

For further information or to discuss how we can assist you please contact Louise Ager directly on 0191 245 4740 or la@clarkemairs.com

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