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My commercial Tenant has breached his Lease, can I get my property back?

Liam O’Shea, Director and Solicitor in Astle Paterson’s Dispute Resolution department discusses the right of a Landlord to bring a Lease to an end following a breach of the Lease by the Tenant.

Liam said, “Most commercial Landlords will have heard of the term ‘forfeiture’, which entitles a Landlord to end a fixed-term tenancy on account of a breach by the tenant.

A commercial Landlord can exercise a right of forfeiture and seek to re-enter the property to bring the Lease to an end, but only where the written agreement contains a valid forfeiture clause.

The procedure of how the Landlord will actually forfeit the Lease will differ according to the nature of the breach – that is, whether the Tenant has failed to pay the rent or whether there has been some other form of breach of Lease.

Liam continued, “The Landlord does not need to serve a preliminary notice in order to forfeit the Lease on the grounds of non-payment of rent.  However, the Landlord should check the terms of the Lease to see whether or not he or she is required to make a formal written for the rent before it can be deemed to be due.

Where the breach consists of anything other than non-payment of rent, the Landlord will need to serve a notice on the Tenant specifying what the breach is and giving the Tenant the opportunity to remedy the breach by a certain date or if possible an opportunity to compensate the Landlord in respect of the breach.  Thereafter should the Tenant fail to remedy the breach or compensate the Landlord within the reasonable period of time, the Landlord will be entitled to forfeit the Lease.

Whilst the Landlord may be able to effect physical re-entry and change the locks should the Tenant have already vacated the property or where the re-entry can be peaceful, the Landlord may wish to instead issue proceedings at Court to obtain an Order for possession of the property based on forfeiture to ensure that the Tenant cannot accuse him or her of acting improperly.”

Liam O’Shea of Astle Paterson specialises in the law of Landlord & Tenant and carries out work on behalf of Landlords throughout Burton upon Trent and the surrounding areas – please contact him on 01283 531366 or by email at loshea@astlepaterson.co.uk.

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