Breach of Covenant & Forfeiture

When you think a tenant is in breach of a covenant under their lease it is important to immediately seek specialist legal advice as to the steps you should take.

Typical breaches can include:

  • Non payment of rent or service charge
  • Failing to keep property in repair
  • Keeping pets in contravention of lease terms
  • Parking or abandoning vehicles on estate roads or other tenants’ parking spaces
  • Causing water damage to other properties
  • Installation of laminate flooring causing noise nuisance
  • Unlawful erection of satellite dishes.

 

We can review the terms of the lease for you and determine the best course of action.

Forfeiture is seen as the ultimate sanction for a tenant in breach. It brings the lease to an end with a view to the landlord regaining possession and re-letting.  There are a number of factors for a landlord to consider before forfeiting such as the ability to re-let, the likely rent achievable, responsibility for business rates during vacant periods and any potential claims by the tenant for unlawful forfeiture.

The lease will usually contain an express clause providing the right to forfeit. The clause will need to cover the alleged breach. Where the tenant has fallen into arrears of rent this will usually entitle the landlord to forfeit the lease once the rent has been outstanding for a certain period of time. With other breaches, such as the breach of a covenant to repair, the landlord must first serve a section 146 notice which communicates the landlord’s intention to forfeit, specifies the breach and provides the tenant with a reasonable period of time to rectify the breach before forfeiting.

Landlords seeking to rely on this remedy must take care not to waive the right to forfeit. An act of waiver is something which recognises the continuing existence of the lease and which is communicated to the tenant such as demanding or accepting rent or levying distress. This is less important with continuing breaches where the right to forfeit is likely to arise again but with ‘once and for all’ breaches, the right to forfeit can be lost until there is a further breach.

Abacus’ specialists can consider the best way forward for you and provide you with expert advice. We can provide fixed fee quotes in most circumstances. Contact us now on 0161 833 0044 or e-mail litigation@abacus-law.co.uk to discuss your options.