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Forfeiture of Lease: What You Need to Know

Although there are many benefits to being a landlord, dealing with tenants can be a challenge. You have to make sure that they are fulfilling their end of the commercial lease so you can make a profit, continue maintaining the property, all while also seeing to the satisfaction of the other tenants.

But what happens when your tenant violates their end of the commercial lease? Maybe they’re not paying rent or are altering the property without your consent. Or maybe the tenants are using the premises for purposes other than those specified in the lease?

If your tenant violates a commercial lease and you no longer wish for the lease to continue, an option to consider is eviction or forfeiture of lease.

What is Forfeiture of Lease?

Forfeiture of lease is a legal remedy in which a landlord regains possession of the property and ends the lease. This is due to breach of contract by the tenant, such as:

  1. Failure to pay rent

  2. Becoming insolvent

  3. Subletting the premises without the consent of the landlord

  4. Use of the premises other than what is permitted in the lease

This method is cost-effective for landlords, because they do not need to go through lengthy court proceedings and pay legal costs.

Enforcing Forfeiture of Lease

To forfeit a lease, landlords must have evidence of the following:

  1. A lease agreement or any proof of a landlord-tenant relationship

  2. Land or premises for which rent is payable

  3. Length of the lease and certainty of amount owed

  4. A clause in the lease that states enforcement actions will be taken if the tenant breaches the lease

Forfeiture can be implemented through peaceable re-entry, which involves re-securing the property without confrontation. A landlord may also issue forfeiture proceedings at court.

Before enforcing their right of peaceable entry, the landlord must first serve a valid notice under section 146 of the Law of Property Act 1925. The notice must specify the breach of the tenant and the requirement to resolve the breach, if it is capable of remedy.

If the tenant has not remedied the breach within the specified period, the landlord can enforce their right of forfeiture. The landlord may exercise their right to peaceable entry without serving a valid notice if the tenant has not been paying rent.

Hiring Enforcement

Landlords can enforce the forfeiture themselves by changing the locks to keep the tenant out. However, there are strict rules about how and when to enforce peaceable re-entry, so it is recommended that a landlord hires certificated bailiffs to do the job. Bailiffs will take care of the repossession and bailee notices, appoint a trustworthy locksmith during the peaceable re-entry and take a full inventory of the goods left by the tenant.

Commercial Forfeiture of Lease by MS Webb

MS Webb protects the interests of landlords and works with them directly during commercial lease forfeiture. We approach each case professionally, ensuring that the entire process is smooth and efficient. We aim for as amicable a resolution as possible to protect your business and your relationship with your tenants.

For enquiries, send us a message here or call 0844 544 4804.


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