July 6, 2024


Steps to Evict Tenant Through Lease Forfeiture

Evicting a tenant through lease forfeiture in the UK involves a multi-step legal process. Landlords must adhere to specific protocols to ensure the eviction is lawful and enforceable. This guide details the critical steps in the forfeiture process, addressing both residential and commercial leases.

Understanding Lease Forfeiture

Lease forfeiture is a legal mechanism allowing landlords to terminate a lease due to a tenant’s breach of terms, such as non-payment of rent or other contractual violations. Forfeiture clauses must be explicitly stated in the lease agreement.

Steps to Evict a Tenant Through Lease Forfeiture

  1. Identify the Breach

First, the landlord must identify a breach of the lease terms. Common breaches include non-payment of rent, unauthorized subletting, or significant property damage.

  1. Issue a Section 146 Notice

For commercial properties, a Section 146 Notice under the Law of Property Act 1925 is required. This notice must specify the breach, the required remedial actions, and a reasonable timeframe for the tenant to comply or face forfeiture proceedings​.

  1. Serve the Notice Correctly

The notice can be served through various methods:

  • Personal delivery with a witness.
  • Hand posted to the property with a witness.
  • Recorded delivery ensuring proof of receipt.
  • Process server to handle service and provide evidence for court​.
  1. Allow Time for Compliance

Tenants must be given a reasonable period to rectify the breach. If the breach is not remedied within the specified timeframe, the landlord can proceed with forfeiture. For unpaid rent, typically, 14 days are provided post-service of the notice​.

  1. Commence Court Proceedings

If the tenant does not comply, the landlord must apply to the court for a Possession Order. This involves presenting evidence of the breach, the lease agreement, records of communication, and proof of notice service​.

  1. Obtain a Possession Order

The court may grant a Possession Order, giving the tenant up to 14 days to vacate the premises. In cases of exceptional hardship, this period can extend up to 42 days​.

  1. Enforce the Possession Order

If the tenant still fails to vacate, the landlord must apply for a Warrant of Possession, allowing bailiffs to enforce the eviction. This step ensures legal and physical possession of the property​.

Special Considerations

  • Residential Tenancies: In residential leases, different notices (e.g., Section 8 or Section 21) may apply based on the nature of the breach and the lease terms​.
  • Commercial Tenancies: For commercial leases, procedures like Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) might be applicable for recovering unpaid rent by seizing tenant goods​.

FAQs on Lease Forfeiture

Q: What is a Section 146 Notice? A: It’s a legal notice required for forfeiture of commercial leases, detailing the breach and required actions for compliance.

Q: How long does the eviction process take? A: The timeframe can vary; straightforward cases may take around six weeks, while complex ones can extend to six months​.

Q: Can a tenant challenge a forfeiture notice? A: Yes, tenants can apply for relief from forfeiture, allowing them to remedy the breach and avoid eviction​.

Q: What happens if the tenant leaves belongings after eviction? A: Landlords must handle tenant belongings according to specific legal guidelines, ensuring proper notice and disposal procedures​.

Q: Is lease forfeiture applicable to residential properties? A: Yes, but different notices and procedures apply compared to commercial properties. Legal advice is recommended for navigating these differences​.

Following these steps diligently ensures that landlords comply with legal requirements, minimising potential disputes and complications during the eviction process.


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